WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 21, 2004—
On December 15-16, 2004, officials and educators from Shanghai and various provinces of China attended the International Forum on Building Lifelong Learning Systems and Learning Societies.
The International Finance Corporation’s Health and Education Department assisted the World Bank Institute in organizing the forum program, which included presentations by various international experts. It was opened by China’s Vice Minister of Education and hosted by the governments of Pudong and Shanghai.
The forum addressed how China can improve its development of human capital by supporting lifelong learning. It emphasized the need to liberalize local laws and regulations so that more private sector resources can be mobilized to serve the country’s fast-changing education and training market.
IFC presented the private sector perspective: the market needs for training the workforce in skills relevant to economic and social development. IFC shared examples of innovative financing of education and training projects from other developing countries.
A case study was presented by the Shanghai Institute for Banking and Finance, an IFC project, that provides training and advanced studies for mid-level and senior executives in China’s banking and finance sectors. Leading government officials and education administrators were enthusiastic about recommendations made by the various presenters, and they have undertaken to investigate new and better ways of creating effective systems for lifelong learning. This is expected to include more engagement with private sector resources for financing and provision of formal education as well as for training of the workforce.
IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and has become increasingly involved in the education sector. IFC supports the startup or expansion of initiatives in postsecondary, primary, and secondary schooling with a particular interest in school networks, e-learning initiatives, student financing programs, and other ancillary services. In January 2004, IFC hosted a major
international forum on investment in private higher education
Forum members recommended that IFC should facilitate on-going discussion on the topic and foster further networking so that new ideas for creating and implementing institution-based schemes could be shared among all members.
The mission of IFC (
) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.