World Bank to Help Strengthen Vocational Education in China’s Gansu Province

March 31, 2017

WASHINGTON DC, March 31, 2017 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $120 million loan to help improve the quality and relevance of vocational schools and strengthen their partnership with industry in China’s Gansu province.  

Gansu, in northwestern China, is one of the least developed provinces, based on both income and human development measures, with nearly 60 percent of its population living in rural areas. The majority of its labor force is working in the low-productivity primary sector, though the secondary and tertiary industries are the main drivers of the province’s economy. To facilitate the transition of low-skilled labor force into more productive employment, it is critical to build a modern technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system.

“The new project will support the implementation of the government’s vocational education development strategy in Gansu. We place special emphasis on closer collaboration between the industry and schools both at the system and school levels so students can obtain skills businesses need,” said Xiao Liping, World Bank’s Senior Education Specialist and the project’s team leader.

The Gansu Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project will support the creation of a skills council in the newly-established Lanzhou TVET Park in the Lanzhou New District, which already hosts a number of key businesses. The skills council, comprised of technicians from the companies, education officials from the government and teachers from the project schools, will take a leading role in providing a list of skills most in demand to all vocational schools in the province. The project will also help the schools establish school-industry collaboration committees and pilot innovative approaches.

In addition, the project seeks to improve the delivery of vocational education though comprehensive school reforms, with a focus on training teachers and school administrators, promoting industry-driven and competence-based curricula, changing pedagogy from the traditional teacher-centered model to student-centered model, reforming teaching and learning assessment systems, enhancing school management, and upgrading school facilities and equipment.

The total investment of the project is estimated at $144.52 million, to be financed through a $120 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and $24.52 million from the project schools and the provincial government. The project will be implemented over five years, and is expected to directly benefit nearly 30,000 students, with more than 78 percent of them from rural areas.

The World Bank has a long record of supporting vocational education reforms in China since the 1990s, and has implemented a series of TVET projects in Guangdong, Liaoning, Shandong, Yunnan, and Xinjiang in the last decade. The new project will draw on the lessons learned from these projects, as well as similar projects around the world.

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