Plan Selva is an ambitious plan by the Peruvian Ministry of Education to bring quality schools to jungle regions of Peru. Historically neglected, these areas suffer from a chronic lack of investment and development. Children of the area are often left with few options for schooling, which heightens historical divisions of race, class and geography. More than half the schools in the Amazonian territory need major repairs or replacement, and the government actually has no data at all for 4,000 schools that lie along the border.
The innovative school designs arose out of a mandate to invest in high quality schools while making designs which were appropriate to the region. The Peruvian amazon has some of the most difficult terrain in the world, and parts of the jungle are still hard to access, even within a small national boundary. Therefore, each site demands individualized, thoughtful design. The design process takes advantage of a degree of modularity; Plan Selva schools are replicable and scalable depending on the site’s needs, and are designed to operate in areas that are not served by the national power and sanitation grids. Because of the remoteness of the terrain, many contractors will not work in those areas, so the Plan Selva system has also been designed to utilize local labor and allow for self-building.
The new school in Loreto, for instance, is made of polished local wood and is raised up off the ground to protect it from flooding. It also features an airy, open design as a means of dealing with the jungle heat. The school features a library, playgrounds, kitchen, a water treatment plant and a rural computer facility.
Plan Selva is here honored as an example of how best to deal with the challenge of internally neglected communities; national commitment and good design can overcome decades of disinvestment. Learn more at the links below.