WASHINGTON, November 11, 2019 — The World Bank today released the following statement on its recently concluded review of a project in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China:
“The World Bank’s work is driven by core principles of inclusion, with special consideration for the protection of minorities and other vulnerable peoples. When allegations are made, the World Bank takes them seriously and reviews them thoroughly. In line with standard practice, immediately after receiving a series of serious allegations in August 2019 in connection with the Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project, the Bank launched a fact-finding review, and World Bank senior managers traveled to Xinjiang to gather information directly. After receiving the allegations, no disbursements were made on the project.
The team conducted a thorough review of project documents, engaged in discussions with project staff, and visited schools directly financed by the project, as well as their partner schools that were the subject of allegations. The review did not substantiate the allegations.
In light of the risks associated with the partner schools, which are widely dispersed and difficult to monitor, the scope and footprint of the project is being reduced. Specifically, the project component that involves the partner schools in Xinjiang is being closed.
In addition, the project will be placed under enhanced supervision to ensure that all applicable Bank standards are adhered to. To further support project supervision, a Washington-based international staff member will co-lead the project, and every second project visit will be led by a senior manager.”
About the project:
The $50 million loan, which was approved in 2015, supports five longstanding public vocational colleges in the region. The schools offer three- and five-year vocational degrees on a fee-based and voluntary basis. The World Bank’s support includes helping to update the curriculum, developing high-quality teaching teams, and improving employment opportunities by ensuring that students’ training and skills match the needs of local industries and service sectors. Like other technical and vocational education projects that the World Bank supports around the world, the project aims to improve educational outcomes and expand economic opportunities to promote poverty alleviation and shared prosperity. Partner schools under the project benefited from less than 1% of the Bank’s financing.