LA PAZ – The annual student subsidy initiated in 2006 has reduced the school dropout rate from 7 percent to 1.5 percent, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Thursday.
The program will ensure that Bolivia has no “new illiterates,” Morales said during a ceremony at a school at El Alto, near La Paz.
The “Juancito Pinto” subsidy was created soon after Morales became president.
This year about 2 million schoolchildren will receive the lump-sum subsidy of 200 bolivianos ($28), a meaningful sum in South America’s poorest nation.
The army mobilized some 10,000 troops to deliver the subsidy payments to Bolivia’s 14,881 schools, the armed forces chief, Gen. Victor Baldivieso, said.
Troops “will go school-to-school, sometimes on motorcycles, by foot into the woods, by river, but the Juancito Pinto payment will arrive,” Morales said.
This year, for the first time, the school subsidy will be paid exclusively out of the profits of state-owned enterprises, the Economy Ministry said.
The total cost of the program for this year is 478.8 million bolivianos (about $68 million) and will come from the state petroleum, mining and telecommunications companies, among other firms, the ministry said.