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Improving children’s education in Grenada
Nearly 8,000 children have benefited from an OFID co-financed project to rehabilitate damaged school infrastructure following devastating natural disasters.
Photo: Anhony Asael / Art in all of Us / Kontributor
After the destruction of back-to-back hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, net enrolment in Grenada’s schools dipped to 62 percent—well below average—as students abandoned damaged infrastructure and dropped out of secondary schools to seek employment in the construction industry.
The government, quickly declaring education a priority sector, set to work. OFID, recognizing that education and socioeconomic development are tightly linked, co-financed the Schools Rehabilitation Project and the Schools Feeding Program to the tune of US$10.5 million. The total project cost was US$13.10 million and the government of Grenada contributed US$2.60 million.
Rehabilitation works ranged from minor repairs to the complete reconstruction or replacement of buildings and school kitchens at five primary and secondary schools. The projects also supported capacity building and institution strengthening. An estimated 7,900 children have benefited and are now able to enrol each year at the newly-rehabilitated schools.
OFID has contributed to the development of Grenada since 1977. To date, the organization has approved a total of US$68.85 million in public sector lending, comprising debt relief and financing aimed at strengthening the country’s transportation and education sectors. Grenada was also a beneficiary of a national grant drawn from the United Nations Development Program Energy Account. With a population of around 107,000 people, Grenada is one of the smallest countries in the world. In addition to its main island, the Caribbean country has two dependencies—Petit Martinique and Carriacou—and a number of smaller islets.
“A quality education is a basic human right and the cornerstone of the economic and social progress of every country,” said Arij Senussi, OFID country officer for Grenada. “OFID’s support of this project did not only help the government of Grenada enhance its education system, but it also provided opportunities for Grenada’s youth to realize their full potential,” she added.
In September 2004, hurricane Ivan swept through Grenada. Classified as a category three storm, Ivan left tremendous devastation in its wake, destroying 90 percent of the country’s buildings. The financial costs of the disaster were estimated at more than US$900 million. Nearly all of the 75 schools on the island were severely damaged. In 2005, the country was hit by a second natural disaster—hurricane Emily— which worsened the already dire situation.
In Grenada, as in all other countries, education attainment is strongly linked with economic gains and lower poverty rates. It is also integral to personal and social development. The government of Grenada has been investing approximately 5.2 percent of GDP annually in education, spending almost US$38 million in 2015. This was more than was spent on any other sector. It was also among the highest spent on education in the Eastern Caribbean States.
As a consequence, Grenada has made remarkable advances in meeting several basic education targets. In 2012, the country achieved universal secondary education. In addition, Grenada attained the Millennium Development Goals and Caribbean-specific targets related to education, and virtually eliminated enrolment disparities between male and female children.
Children make up a significant proportion of the country’s population. Just over one-quarter of Grenadians are under 14 years old. According to UNESCO, Grenada has over 22,000 pupils enroled in primary and secondary education.
Grenada continues to work hard to support the wellbeing of its people. OFID values its efforts and looks forward to continued cooperation.