43007-023: Higher Education Reform Project

Project Data Sheet (PDS): Details


The project will institute needed reforms in higher education (HE) to improve the quality and relevance of HE programs; governance, management, and financing of HE institutions (HEIs) and the entire subsector; and promote equitable access to HE. Project interventions include institutional capacity building, human resources development, provision of learning and research facilities, equipment and materials, consultant services, minor civil works, support for public-private partnerships (PPP), and improvement of the HE policy environment.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Rapid economic expansion has led to increased demand and supply for HE in Mongolia. The government has emphasized the value of HE as a principal investment option for the country s long-term economic competitiveness. Gross enrollment ratio for HE rose from 27% in 2000 to 47% in 2007, buttressed by the entry of private institutions offering HE in the 1990s. Over 100 HEIs are now in operation but only around 40% of graduates are employed. Persistent rural-urban inequalities also undermine Mongolia s competitiveness in HE. Poverty serves to destabilize children s school performance in rural areas and even if poor households manage to send their children to HEIs in urban areas, there is no guarantee of employability after the graduation. The government's vision is of an effective HE system that can help accelerate sustainable economic development, improve people's livelihood, ensure social equality, and reduce poverty. However, the system is currently constrained by (i) low quality and relevance, (ii) weak governance and management, (iii) inadequate financing, and (iv) limited opportunities in the HE subsector particularly for the poor and those in rural areas.


The project impact will be an increased number of Mongolia's globally competitive higher education graduates responsive to labor market demands.

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome

The outcome will be an improved, well-managed, and equitable higher education system. The project primarily involves capacity building of the entire subsector to improve its performance.

Progress Towards Outcome

The project review mission was conducted in September 2014. The mission assessed that the project implementation remains to be slow. Despite the delays, the MEDS confirmed that project objectives and activities are in line with the government higher education reform strategy, adopted in May 2013, which calls for major reforms in public higher education institutes and the entire subsector.

Implementation Progress

Description of Project Outputs

Quality and relevance of higher education programs improved Effectiveness of HEIs' management and financing improved Access to higher education improved.

Status of Operation/Construction or Implementation Progress

The EA has been organizing consultation workshops with various stakeholders to introduce the higher education reform initiatives to be supported by the project. It also organized number of training and study tours in the country and overseas as preparation for implementation of the project outputs. Based on the recommendations of the international Human Resource specialist, the EA is developing a Human Resource Development Master Plan (HR plan) to be supported by the project, which will be eventually approved by MEDS and ADB. Roughly 44% of loan funds are committed for capacity building activities under the project, so development of a good HR plan is crucial for bringing the project implementation on track.

Safeguard Categories

Environment: C
Involuntary Resettlement: C
Indigenous Peoples: C

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspect

The simplified environmental management plan was prepared to ensure full mitigation of any environmental impacts of limited civil works such as rehabilitation of existing laboratories and libraries supported by the project.

Involuntary Resettlement

No significant impact on environment and resettlement is anticipated. Neither acquisition of land nor relocation of people is planned.

Indigenous Peoples

No negative impacts on indigenous peoples are expected. Targeting approaches under the project will be applied nationwide and benefit indigenous peoples.

Stakeholder Participation and Consultation

During Project Design

The project implementation unit (PIU) has been established at the Ministry of Education and Science, the project executing agency, and manages day-to-day project implementation, planning and budgeting, procurement, disbursement, monitoring, supervising, overseeing overall implementation, and reporting to the Government and ADB. Procurement and consulting recruitment will follow ADB Procurement Guidelines (2013, as amended from time to time) and ADB Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2013, as amended from time to time) respectively.

During Project Implementation

The PIU conducts consultation meetings and workshops with various stakeholders including the higher eductaion institutes, to introduce the project objectives and solicit ideas for better project implementation and coordination, in addition to thematic consultation workshops with specific audience.


Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

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