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14 November 2006

British consultancy support helps world's largest education project

The Chinese Ministry of Education and Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) have launched one of the world’s largest education projects – the £27 million Southwest Basic Education Project (SBEP) aimed at improving education for more than 1.6m children – especially girls - in 27 of China’s poorest counties in four of the poorest provinces: Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan. Two British consultancy organisations – Cambridge Education (part of the Mott MacDonald group) and the British Council – are providing support through a team of British and Chinese experts.

Andy Brock, general manager of Cambridge Education, China and team leader of the partnership team said: ‘Cambridge Education and the British Council are proud to be working with the Chinese government on this flagship project. The DFID approach of providing high quality specialist support has already proved effective in other parts of China. This project has the chance to make a significant impact on the lives of some of the poorest children in China. British education expertise will have a critical role to play in making that happen.’

China’s rapid development has been uneven between the east of the country and the west – consequently, many counties in the southwest region are lagging behind. The support from the Southwest Basic Education Project will focus on improving the Ministry of Education’s own programmes to achieve universal basic education in these poor areas.

Michael O’Sullivan, Regional Director British Council, China said: ‘Our aim is to work in partnership with the Chinese government to provide the best British expertise in the education field. We hope this project will be a showcase for the partnership between our two countries.’

The Southwest Basic Education project will aim to increase enrolment in poor minority areas and improve teaching and management quality in some of the remotest schools in the country. Altogether the project will cover more than 8,000 schools and over 77,000 teachers.

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