In 2017, through a public tender process, the Ministry of Education of Panama (MEDUCA, for its Spanish acronym) awarded 10 construction contracts to the contractor A&A Arroyo y Asociados ("A&A") for the design, demolition, remodeling and construction of 28 rural schools located in vulnerable and difficult to access regions of the Ngäbe-Buglé district and the provinces of Bocas del Toro and Coclé. The purpose of this MEDUCA initiative is to eradicate 189 aulas rancho (rustic, one-room rural schools), located mainly in the most isolated and poorest areas of the country, and replace them with modern infrastructure that meets the optimal criteria that the MEDUCA has defined with advice from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
In September 2017, A&A formed a private consortium called Consorcio Escuelas Siglo XXI with Air Care Corp. and HMG Investment Corp., in order to combine the resources of each sponsor for the funding and execution of the construction contracts.
The IDB Invest loan seeks to provide two years of funding for the construction expenses associated with the contracts. The total cost of the project is US$39.27 million, which will be funded through a class A IDB Invest loan of up to US$16 million and a loan from IDB's Chinese Fund of up to US$8 million. The funding plan will be completed with the contribution of "B" loans and other capital contributions. Through this loan, IDB Invest aims to improve the current state of the infrastructure in rural and isolated schools in the mentioned areas and provide optimal conditions for the learning and development of approximately 302 teachers and 5,488 students, in line with the IDB and Panama’s 2015-2019 strategy to strengthen the educational profile of the population. The new schools will be equipped with modern classrooms, electricity, water, sanitary systems and, in some cases, with solar panels to provide renewable energy.