WASHINGTON, October 31, 2017 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $120 million loan today to improve learning facilities and teaching quality in selected public primary and junior secondary schools in the less developed parts of China’s Guangdong Province.
Over the past few decades, China has significantly improved access to education, with nine-year compulsory education provided for all children across the country. However, there is a disparity in educational performance between urban and rural areas, due to a lack of well-trained teachers, financial and physical resources, and school management skills. Disadvantaged groups such as children left-behind by migrant parents and children with disabilities are disproportionately affected.
“Addressing the inequality in access to high quality education is a critical first step in expanding opportunities for all and promoting growth. As China seeks to transition from middle- to high-income status, investments in reducing social inequality and ensuring access to high quality education for all will be crucial,” said Amer Hasan, World Bank’s Senior Economist and Project Team Leader. “The project will also help provide lessons on how to achieve more inclusive education, which will be relevant for other parts of China and other developing economies,” he added.
Guangdong is China’s most populous province with more than 107 million people, as well as the largest economy within the country. Like the rest of China, Guangdong has achieved universal access to basic and junior secondary education, and is well on its way to universalizing senior secondary education. However, more investment is needed to reduce the urban-rural gap that exists in the education sector – particularly in terms of learning facilities and teaching quality.
The Guangdong Compulsory Education Project will address these gaps by supporting the installation and use of ICT equipment, the construction of classrooms, and by enhancing the training and assessment system for teachers. It will introduce a new framework with which to assess teaching quality. The project seeks to improve the equity and quality of education with a special focus on left-behind children and children with disabilities. The project will focus on 16 counties that have substantially lower GDP per capita than the rest of the province.
The total project cost is $279.40 million, of which the IBRD loan will finance $120 million. To be implemented in a period of 5.5 years from 2018 to 2023, the project will benefit approximately 554,800 students who account for 41 percent of all students in the project counties. In addition, approximately 22,800 teachers will be trained, equivalent to 15 percent of all teachers in compulsory education in the project counties.
For more information on the World Bank program in China, please visit: www.worldbank.org/china