CAF inaugurates a modern ethno-educational institution in the Colombian Pacific

January 26, 2024

The community of Los Brazos, located in the rural area of Timbiquí, Cauca, received the facilities of the Puerto Saija Ethnoeducational Institution from the Ministry of Education of Colombia and CAF.

On the banks of the Saija River, in the Isla Los Brazos sector of Timbiquí (Cauca), there is a rural branch of the Puerto Saija Ethnoeducational Institution. This Thursday, as part of the Government with the People of the Pacific Coast, officials from the Ministry of Education of Colombia and CAF - the development bank of Latin America and the Caribbean - arrived at the site to deliver to the community a pilot project that consists of the construction of educational centers with modular technology, whose purpose is to bring quality education to hard-to-reach areas of the country.

The CAF-led project features 440 m² of new construction and another 400 m² of renovated space, benefiting 132 students in the area. Boys, girls, and young people will have access to 7 modern study classrooms, a dining room that will also serve as a community space, a teachers' room, kitchen, provision of drinking water service, energy, solar panels, and basic sanitation. Additionally, the project includes a library, a dock, and a landing stage to facilitate student and community access to the educational institution.

This project involved an investment of 3,600 million Colombian pesos and was structured in ongoing dialogue with the teachers and administrators of the establishment, as well as with community leaders and families of the students who are now grateful for these new and dignified environments for the education of the children and young people of the area.

"The Modular School Timbiquí pilot is an innovative infrastructure model that includes highly durable and easy-to-assemble structures, with provision of drinking water, sanitation, and energy. This educational project, which will benefit the entire community of Los Brazos, is great news for Colombia and Latin America and the Caribbean, as it addresses one of the main challenges in delivering quality education to the most hard-to-reach areas", said Sergio Díaz-Granados, president of CAF.

The Minister of Education, Aurora Vergara Figueroa, highlighted the commitment of multilateral and cooperation agencies, as well as private sector partners supporting educational infrastructure projects in the country's rural areas.

"These contributions to the educational sector significantly help to bridge gaps by building a society of knowledge and local wisdom, where boys, girls, and young people, especially those living in rural communities and territories historically excluded and affected by violence, can learn in educational spaces that are dignified for their wellbeing and training", stated Minister Vergara Figueroa.

The Deputy Minister of Preschool, Basic and Primary Education, Óscar Sánchez, assured that "this work represents a significant advance in recognizing our most remote territories. We know that the boys, girls, and young people will now have access to quality education and comprehensive training", he said during the delivery of the new educational institution.

The modular school system used in this project allows for the construction of top-level educational institutions, with high infrastructure quality standards, and contributes to the goal of expanding the coverage of the educational system in all territories, especially in hard-to-reach areas.

This project of building modular schools in remote areas is part of the ongoing work of CAF - the development bank of Latin America and the Caribbean - to improve living conditions, rural development, and the integration of regions in Colombia, and has the potential to become public policy to extend quality education throughout the country, and also in other Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Furthermore, with the support of 'Computers for Education,' an innovation laboratory was installed, which includes robotics elements, a 3D printer, an interactive monitor, a STEM engineering kit, a content manager, and offline material for ICT use, establishing a center of interest in science, technology, and innovation for the comprehensive training of students in the region.