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IFC INVESTS IN INTERNET COMPANY TO ENHANCE EDUCATION IN BRAZIL


Jannette Esguerra
Phone: (202) 458 5204
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: jesguerra@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2000 ---The International Finance Corporation is helping to bring web-based education tools to students in Brazil through an investment in Escol@24Horas (Escol@), an on-line tutoring service provider.
Escol@, a start-up education company based in Rio de Janeiro, provides students, at basic education levels, tutoring services via their website (www.escola24h.br.com) and through a web-based program that facilitates e-mail exchanges with dedicated Escol@ tutors. Escol@ also provides its client schools with innovative tools to develop their own websites and extends its interactive services and educational materials to parents and school communities.
The project will work to improve the access and content of education material to students, parents, and schools by pioneering the use of the Internet, said Karl Voltaire, IFC Director of the Global Practice Group for Social Sectors. Bringing Internet-based education solutions to the country will help to ease some of the constraints currently facing the Brazilian education system, he added.
IFC will make an equity investment of $3.25 million in Escol@. The company was launched in November 1999 to extend student learning support and resources to schools and student homes using the Internet as a medium. Escol@ is currently providing these services to students in kindergarten through grade 12 and is expected to expand its services to higher education/tertiary level students across Brazil.
The investment is part of IFC's focus on private investments to address needs in the social sector and its strategy to improve access to health care and education, where privately owned and managed operations can help raise the quality of services and ease the burden on public resources.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in emerging markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.