Loan earmarked to improve education, farming in China( 2003-09-12 07:13) (China Daily)
The World Bank has approved loans totalling US$210 million for two projects that will benefit some of China's poorest provinces, the bank's Beijing office said yesterday.
The first project is to improve the quality of education in some of the poorest townships and villages in western China and the second to fight grassland degradation.
The bank granted a US$100 million loan for the education project. The loan is on top of a US$34.4 million grant by Britain's Department for International Development.
Since 1981 the bank has supported fifteen education projects in China, and this time the project is to help bring about the realization of universal primary education and the expansion of junior middle school education in poor and minority areas and to build stronger institutions to increase the quality of education in China.
The goal of the project, to be implemented over a five-year period, is to bring nine-year quality compulsory education to all children in Southwest China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, Northwest China's Gansu Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
With the completion of the project, access to a higher quality basic education for rural children will be increased, and literacy and numeracy rates will be raised.
The number of sub-standard classroom buildings will be reduced and a stronger community voice in the management of the schools is expected.
The Gansu and Xinjiang Pastoral Development Project will use US$ 111.59 million of the World Bank loan.
The goal of the project is to stem the degradation of natural grasslands which have been harmed by previous mismanagement and inappropriate policies.
By fighting grassland degradation the project will improve the capacity of China's pastoral areas to support biodiversity and livestock, thus bringing benefit to the people living in those areas.
Gansu and Xinjiang are two of China's critical environmental areas, both listed as priority areas in the biodiversity review of China, because they contain many endangered grassland species.
The project will support resource management through improving livestock production and promoting marketing systems that will increase the income of herders and farmers in the project areas.
By enabling farmer and herder households in the project counties to better manage their grassland resources and improve forage and feed production on arable lands, the project will help them increase their incomes and living standard through more efficient and quality focused livestock production.
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