The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided Vietnam with two loans totalling 165 million USD to improve secondary education for ethnic minority students in the country’s poorest areas, and upgrade rural infrastructure in six central provinces.

The loans are part of ADB’s response to the Vietnamese Government’s need in prioritised areas, matching the bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Vietnam in the 2012-15 period, said Tomoyuki Kimura, ADB Country Director in Vietnam at a signing ceremony for the loans in Hanoi on January 23.

The first loan, valued at 80 million USD, will be used to support the second phase of a project to improve secondary education for students from ethnic minority groups in most disadvantaged areas.

Building on the success of the first phase, which was completed in 2014, the second phase aims to raise the enrolment rate at secondary schools in the targeted areas by 5 percent by 2020 by building 660 additional classrooms, 350 semi-boarding facilities, 250 houses for teachers, and training 24,000 teachers. Some 344 new schools will also be built during the six-year period.

The second loan of 85 million USD will be injected into a project to boost integrated rural development in six central localities of Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Ha Tinh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Yen and Thua Thien-Hue.

The ADB earlier funded 90 million USD to this 168.17 million USD project, which was approved by the bank in 2007.-VNA