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Contact: John Emmanuel

Thursday, May 09, 2002 - An additional $50 million dollars is to be invested in the island’s education system over the next four years. This was disclosed, on Thursday, May 09, 2002, by Minister for Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports Honourable Mario Michel following a trip to Washington, where he held talks with officials of the World Bank.

Minister Michel says the agreement arrived at will see the construction of two new secondary schools, one in the constituency of Gros-Islet and the other in the Anse-La-Raye/Canaries constituency. It will also involve extensive renovation and upgrading work being carried out on over a dozen other schools island-wide. With the creation of close to 2 – 3 thousand additional school places, the project, he says brings the island further in line with the goal of achieving universal secondary education by the year 2006.

“There are three aspects of the funding, there is the loan funding from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development generally known as the World Bank, there is the Credit Funding from the International Development Association which is an affiliate organization of UNESCO and then there is counterpart funding from the Government of St. Lucia. Together it will total in the region of just over $US19 million which works out to be just about $EC50 million which will take us very close to the objective which we are seeking of universal secondary education,” Michel said.

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony will formally sign the agreement later in the year. The project has a commencement date of September 1, 2002 and will run up until September 1, 2008. Meantime Minister Michel is due to return to Washington on Monday, May 13, 2002 to meet with United States President George W. Bush for the launching of a major education initiative.

Minister Michel says the new initiative in education, involves possible funding for countries of the Americas from the United States. According to him, “the main reason and the justification for the meeting and our presence is the expectation that there will be funds provided by the United States Government for Education in the region and knowing how those things work the only way you can hope to benefit it to be there at the critical stages. I will certainly go there to see what can be tapped for St. Lucia under the education initiative being launched by the US President.”

The initiative is expected to have a heavy focus on reading and other critical aspects of the education system in the Americas.


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