PHOTOS: La Carpio opens new school, 23 years in the making

March 22, 2018

When La Carpio inaugurated its new school yesterday, it was the culmination of 23 years of effort. That’s right: 23.

A new facility to replace the infamously overcrowded primary school in La Carpio, one of Costa Rica’s biggest slums, has been in the works for more than two decades as the community – located on the outskirts of San José – struggled to provide its children with high-quality infrastructure.

On Tuesday, March 21, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, First Lady Mercedes Peñas, Public Education Minister Sonia Marta Mora, and Escuela Finca La Caja Principal Miguel Aguilar officially inaugurated the first phase of the project, which includes 24 classrooms, three special education classroom, eight preschool classrooms, a library, two fully equipped dining rooms, two security booths, a teachers’ room, an administrative area and two waiting rooms.

(What was the old school like? After The Tico Times spent a day there in 2006, we described it this way: “Escuela Finca La Caja is a deafening place. It’s far too small for its 2,200 students despite two smaller annexes built to provide more space, so the kids come to class in three shifts, a solution used by overcrowded schools throughout the country. Even so, the main building’s 15 classrooms seem filled to bursting.When a teacher calls on students to read out loud, none of them can hear their classmates’ voices over the uproar coming through the too-thin walls.”)

The project was carried out with an investment of $6.4 million with help from the Inter-American Development Bank as well as the inter-institutional work by the Education Ministry (MEP), the Housing Ministry (MIVAH), the Mixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS), the Municipality of San José and many more.

On Tuesday children, educators, government officials and the president gathered to celebrate the inauguration of the beginning of a new educational era for La Carpio, an era of improvement towards a better future for the community and for the country.

Take a look at what the celebration was like.

UCR researcher Carlos Sandoval (left), President Luis Guillermo Solís (center) and Marta Obregón, one of the co-founders of Escuela Finca La Caja. Elizabeth Lang / The Tico Times
President Luis Guillermo Solís giving a speech to his audience. Elizabeth Lang / The Tico Times
Another band performing at the inaugural event. Elizabeth Lang / The Tico Times
Children planting a tree with President Luis Guillermo Solís. Elizabeth Lang / The Tico Times
Children planting a tree with First Lady Mercedes Peñas. Elizabeth Lang / The Tico Times
Children planting a tree with Education Minister Sonia Marta Mora. Elizabeth Lang / The Tico Times
A policeman enjoying the morning and taking a picture of the inauguration. Elizabeth Lang / The Tico Times
Principal Miguel Arguedas hugs a student while President Solís holds up a drawing handed to him by another student. Elizabeth Lang / The Tico Times
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