The proposed knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will support the development of policy frameworks for accelerating the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at local universities in Yunnan Province through research, capacity development, and policy advice to promote socioeconomic development and regional cooperation with Southeast Asian countries. The Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has requested the TA from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as part of its efforts to rationalize the higher education system in Yunnan Province to fill critical skills gaps in local and regional labor markets. Following a mission in March 2018, ADB and the government reached an understanding on the TA objectives, scope, implementation arrangements, costs, and terms of reference for consultants. The TA is included in ADB's country operations business plan for the PRC, 2018 2020.
|Project Name||Accelerating the Reform of Application-Oriented Undergraduate Programs at Local Universities in Yunnan Province|
|Country||China, People's Republic of
|Project Type / Modality of Assistance||Technical Assistance
|Source of Funding / Amount||
|Strategic Agendas||Inclusive economic growth
|Drivers of Change||Governance and capacity development
Private sector development
|Sector / Subsector||
Education / Tertiary
|Gender Equity and Mainstreaming||No gender elements|
|Description||The proposed knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will support the development of policy frameworks for accelerating the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at local universities in Yunnan Province through research, capacity development, and policy advice to promote socioeconomic development and regional cooperation with Southeast Asian countries. The Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has requested the TA from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as part of its efforts to rationalize the higher education system in Yunnan Province to fill critical skills gaps in local and regional labor markets. Following a mission in March 2018, ADB and the government reached an understanding on the TA objectives, scope, implementation arrangements, costs, and terms of reference for consultants. The TA is included in ADB's country operations business plan for the PRC, 2018 2020.|
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy||
The PRC's higher education system the largest in the world in terms of number of higher education institutions (HEIs) and students has been growing rapidly, contributing to remarkable economic growth. Yet as the economy undergoes fundamental transformation and its growth has slowed, structural issues with the PRC's higher education system have become more prominent. These include homogenization of colleges and universities, difficulties of graduates with finding employment, and insufficient capacity of HEIs for innovation and entrepreneurship. Against this background, the Ministry of Education issued guidelines for provincial governments to rationalize the higher education system by establishing a system for classifying HEIs, and to transform some local colleges and universities to offer application-oriented undergraduate programs which integrate discipline-oriented education and professionally oriented practical training through university enterprise cooperation and meet the needs of local socioeconomic development. At the same time, research universities were guided to enhance global competitiveness and state-of-the-art disciplines.
Bordering Viet Nam, Lao People's Democratic Republic, and Myanmar, Yunnan Province forms part of the PRC's poor and underdeveloped western region. Its higher education system, comprising 79 HEIs (77 colleges and universities, and 2 adult education colleges), has been unbalanced in their capacity to meet the needs of local socioeconomic development, and graduates face difficulties with getting employed. When Yunnan Provincial Department of Education (PDE) initiated the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs in 2008, HEIs in Yunnan Province were undifferentiated from each other in programs they offered, particularly due to the upgrading of many three-year colleges to four-year colleges and universities (local universities) after 2000. Since then, Yunnan PDE has pursued a series of reforms to align the higher education system with skills needs in local and regional labor markets. For example, in 2014, ahead of the Ministry of Education's guidelines, Yunnan PDE started to pilot the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at nine local universities. In 2016, it introduced a HEI classification system to comprehensively reform the higher education system, while it has started to develop world-class universities in 2018. Moreover, Yunnan Province strives to promote international cooperation in higher education, with emphasis on cooperation with Southeast Asian countries (the Belt and Road Initiative).
At present, all local universities are guided to implement the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs in Yunnan Province. Despite achievements, the pilot reforms indicate challenges and issues, including:
(i) difficulties with adapting professionally oriented majors and clusters (i.e., groups of majors) fully in line with the needs of local industries due in part to time lag between the pace of industry transformation and upgrading and that of curriculum, teaching force, and training materials and facility development and upgrading, and to insufficient university enterprise cooperation;
(ii) inadequate university entrance exam system based on discipline-oriented majors and graduation exam system based on thesis, as opposed to the emphasis on professionally oriented practical training in application-oriented undergraduate programs;
(iii) underdeveloped capacity for training human resources to promote cooperation with Southeast Asian countries and implement the Belt and Road Initiative;
(iv) limited public funds to develop practical training, innovation, and entrepreneurship facilities;
(v) constraints on the autonomy of local universities, particularly that of public universities to seek funding other than from the government;
(vi) unclear legal rights and obligations of the parties involved in university enterprise cooperation.
These challenges and issues are compounded by lack of policy frameworks at the national and provincial levels for different types of universities (public, private, independent schools and institutes subordinate to universities) which are coordinated with other policy areas, to accelerate the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at local universities.
|Impact||Higher education system in Yunnan Province in support of socioeconomic development and regional cooperation rationalized|
|Description of Outcome||Reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at local universities widely implemented|
|Progress Toward Outcome||To be reviewed in late 2021.|
|Description of Project Outputs||
Status of the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at local universities assessed
Good practices and lessons learned on the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs documented and disseminated
Policy recommendations on accelerating the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at local universities in line with local industry transformation and upgrading plans developed
|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)||
Methodology and tools for assessing the status of the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at 31 local universities were discussed with Yunnan Provincial Education Department (YPDE) and local universities in January 2019 and finalized in early March 2019. Data collection for the assessment was carried out in June-July 2019. The final assessment report was discussed with YPDE and accepted in June 2020.
Under output 2, extensive field work and a series of small workshops were originally planned for carrying out in-depth case study of local universities and identifying good practices and lessons in the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the original plan to conduct extensive field work and a series of small workshops had to be revised. Together with the resource persons appointed by YPDE, field work and workshops to collect and analyze data for the case studies of local universities were conducted in March 2021. Case studies of universities in other province were also conducted in March 2021. The interim report 1 which includes the methodology and tools of case studies, case studies, and materials and summary of discussions at workshops on case studies is expected in April 2021.
The TA closing date has been extended to June 2021 due to the delays caused by the coronavirus outbreaks.
|Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects|
|Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation|
|During Project Design||Yunnan Provincial Education Department, Yunnan Provincial Finance Department, and other relevant government agencies as well as some of local universities participated in the process of designing the TA.|
|During Project Implementation||31 local universities in Yunnan province will be consulted and actively participating in data collection and analysis and development of case studies.|
|Consulting Services||A consulting firm (international, 6 person-months; national, 13 person-months) has been recruited to design and conduct policy-oriented studies on the reform of application-oriented undergraduate programs at local universities. The firm was selected using the quality- and cost-based selection method, with a quality-cost ratio of 90:10 and simplified technical proposals. Output-based, lumpsum contract with a provision of fixed out-of-pocket expenditures was considered for the assignment.|
|Responsible ADB Officer||Maruyama, Asako|
|Responsible ADB Department||East Asia Department|
|Responsible ADB Division||Urban and Social Sectors Division, EARD|
Yunnan Provincial Department of Education
2 Xuefu Road, Kunming, Yunnan Yunnan Provincial Finance Department Division of International Cooperation
Wuhuashan, Kunming Yunnan,
Peoples Republic of China
|Concept Clearance||19 Apr 2018|
|Fact Finding||08 Mar 2018 to 12 Mar 2018|
|Approval||14 May 2018|
|Last Review Mission||-|
|Last PDS Update||29 Mar 2021|
|Approval||Signing Date||Effectivity Date||Closing|
|14 May 2018||11 Jun 2018||11 Jun 2018||30 Jun 2020||30 Jun 2021||-|
|Financing Plan/TA Utilization||Cumulative Disbursements|
|400,000.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||400,000.00||14 May 2018||101,177.23|
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|Title||Document Type||Document Date|
|Accelerating the Reform of Application-Oriented Undergraduate Programs at Local Universities in Yunnan Province: Technical Assistance Report||Technical Assistance Reports||May 2018|
Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation
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|Tender Title||Type||Status||Posting Date||Deadline|
|Accelerating the Reform of Application-Oriented Undergraduate Programs at Local Universities in Yunnan Province||Firm - Consulting||Closed||17 Apr 2018||25 May 2018|
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