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Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category

IDB loan to assist Panamanian students

IDB loan will assist Panamanian children

Inter-American Development Bank News Release
June 7, 2012 – News Release

IDB loan for US$70 million to benefit more than 38,000 Panamanian students

The Inter-American Development Bank approved a loan for $70 million to provide innovative educational infrastructure to 47 communities in Panama that will benefit more than 38,000 students. The goal is to expand educational opportunities and encourage students in marginal and indigenous areas to complete basic education.

More than a third of Panamanians between the ages of 13 and 17 do not attend school. Coverage levels are especially low for the groups targeted by the program. For example, in the Ngäbe-Buglé and Guna Yala indigenous administrative regions, only 43 percent of youths attend secondary school.

The IDB financing will be used to expand and equip 20 primary schools to include grades seven to nine and construct two model schools that will have innovative facilities and will employ a new pedagogical and educational management approach. These investments are expected to result in the matriculation of 10,000 new students from preschool through secondary school.

In addition, the program will providing 47 schools with classrooms designed to facilitate learning. The basic curriculum will be updated to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century, and training and support will be extended to staff and faculty in school management, pedagogy, and curriculum content.

Only 62 percent of Panamanian schools have drinking water in Panama, compared with 77 percent for the Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole. Half have adequate sanitation, compared with 65 percent for the region

Studies indicate that the quality of a school’s physical environment directly affects both the motivation and behavior of teachers as well as learning, discipline, and attention levels of the students.

Schools benefiting from the program are located poor areas with high dropout rates in the provinces of Panamá, Coclé, Colón, Chiriquí, Los Santos, and the indigenous administrative areas of Ngäbe-Buglé and Guna Yala.

The financing was extended for a 25-year term with a grace period of four years and a variable interest rate based on LIBOR. Counterpart funding totals $10 million.

New release thanks to IDB website: http://www.iadb.org/en/news/news-releases/2012-06-07/panama-will-improve-school-infrastructure,10017.html

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Museum of Biodiversity Site, Under Construction

Museum of Biodiversity Site, Under Construction from the Back

Museum of Biodiversity Site

Museum Biodiversity Model

I recently attended a presentation at the American Chamber of Commerce in Panama, Tourism Committee meeting, about the Museum of Biodiversity being built in Panama. I am so impressed with the plans and progress of the museum I need to share it. When you are finished reading my blog entry, please click on the Museum of Biodiversity link to the right to see the photos and more details of this interesting project.

The museum project was originally planned to be much larger; a tight government budget was implemented and the project was downsized from one which had locations on both oceans to the Museum of Biodiversity now being built on Amador Causeway by the Panama Canal, near the Pacific entrance. Still the project being built is very impressive and well thought out. It is too complex to describe completely in this blog but the incredible detail even takes into consideration numerous access and traffic movement for the present and into the future (perhaps Mr. Gehry should be in on the city planning as well!).

I learned from Patrick Dillan who gave the presentation, about the engineering and design of the project from the first stages to the end. The complexity of the building is incredible. I have been watching the progress from the first ground breaking since I am out to Amador several times a week to manage to our Cerrito Tropical on Taboga Island. Progress is tedious as work is very precise. The precision the museum must be built with: 0 – 2mm.

The museum will be a masterpiece of shapes topped by an explosion of color. The colors skillfully chosen to represent flora and fauna elements of the rain forest. The designers hurtled difficulties such as longevity of the color in the tropical sun which is intensified because the building is located on a causeway and will receive sunlight reflected by the water on both sides of the structure. The need for a long term paint guarantee is imperative.

The museum will include 2 large salt water aquariums which will be built with Japanese custom built plexiglass fronts which have arrived and will be installed soon.

The foundation of the museum is education; for Panamanians and visitors. The displays will be designed so that people with all levels of education can appreciate their messages. Themes will include creation of the world as we know it, the continents, the ice ages, the movement of humans and animals, how the ecosystems intertwine, conservation of our planet and more. Behind the scenes as well, education will be an important and lasting factor. The effects of the museum construction will be felt for years because of the training and improved skills of the Panamanian workers.

On the financial end, I learned about the end of funding by the Panamanian government, fortunately many felt this to be so important that private organizations stepped in to ensure the completion of this important project and adopted it. One of the partner organizations is the The Smithsonian Institute which has been in Panama with its Tropical Research Institute for many years.

If you want to become a Friend of the Museum, I highly recommend their website where you can get more information. Scheduled to open 2010.

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