ADB to fund education, infrastructure in poorest areas

ADB to fund education, infrastructure in poorest areas

Two loan agreements to improve schooling and infrastructure in Vietnam’s poorest regions were signed January 23 between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Vietnam Government.The agreements, signed by the Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, Nguyen Van Binh, and ADB Country Director Vietnam, Tomoyuki Kimura, mean $165 million for improving lower secondary education of ethnic minorities in the Vietnam’s poorest regions.

There will also be additional financing to scale up investments in rural infrastructure in six provinces in the central region.

“Built on the implementation experiences and lessons learned from the first phase of the projects, the ADB provides further support to the Government’s efforts to continue delivering lower secondary education of ethnic minority in the poorest regions, and addressing the rural infrastructure constraints,” Kimura said.

The agreements provide USD80m for the Second Lower Secondary Education for the Most Disadvantaged Areas Project, a continuation of the Lower Secondary Education for the Most Disadvantaged Regions, which was completed at the end of last year. It was the first large-scale support for lower secondary education of the poor ethnic minorities in the northern mountainous region, Central Highlands, Mekong River Delta and the typhoon affected coastal areas.

The new project will build on the success of the first phase, while including new regional competency-based textbooks for ethnic minority students, more teacher training, more education on life skills, a system of school clusters and teachers’ networks, e-learning for training of teachers and education managers, model libraries for extracurricular academic support and recreation for ethnic minority students, as well as typhoon resilient facilities and disaster management education.The ADB said phase two should take about six years to complete, with the Second Lower Secondary Education for the Most Disadvantaged Area Project aims to improve enrolment in lower secondary education, with 660 more classrooms to be built,  350 semi-boarding facilities, housing for 250 teachers, the training of some 24,000 teachers, as well as development of about 344 new school clusters.

The second loan, of USD85 million, is for additional financing of the Integrated Rural Development Infrastructure Sector Project, which was approved by the ADB board in October 2007. ADB is providing USD90 million out of the total cost of USD168. The original project targeted critical rural infrastructure in 13 provinces in the Central Region, including roads, irrigation drainage, and flood control systems, rural markets, domestic water supply schemes and coastal works.

As of August 2014, the project had achieved its intended outcomes to meet provincial infrastructure development targets for boosting agricultural productivity and employment opportunities, improving access to public services, as well as reducing the exposure of the rural population to natural disasters.

But the ADB said that despite the achievements, “much work is needed to reduce infrastructure constraints to production, diversification, and economic growth.”

It said the additional financing will support the improvement and expansion of irrigation infrastructure over four years in Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Ha Tinh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Yen and Thua Thien-Hue. – DTINews


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