43007-023: Higher Education Reform Project

Project Data Sheet (PDS): Details

Description

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.

Impact

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 Government pays considers the higher education sector very critical in Mongolia s economic development, and has been undertaking the system and institutional level reforms signaling a commitment to improving higher education sector performance. The project has been supporting the Government in carrying out several critical reform process. During the project midterm review mission ADB and MECS assessed that intended Impact and Outcome of the project remain relevant; and that many project Outputs are also remain relevant and in line with government policies and priorities in the higher education sector. However, it was also found out that many activities in the original design are not clear or no longer relevant, or not implementable in the remaining time period or by the physical completion date of 31 December 2016.

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 project Midterm Review Mission was fielded from 23 February to 6 March 2015. The main purpose of the mission was to review the project achievements against its objectives; identify challenges and constraints that delayed in the project implementation; and propose any remedial actions to improve the project implementation. The mission signed the Memorandum of Understanding outlining major issues discussed and next steps agreed upon by the MECS and the mission. The mission assessed that the project implementation has been significantly slow with overall progress of 29% against elapsed time of 57%. As of 6 March 2015, the cumulative contract awards amount to $3.5 million or 19.5% of total net loan, while cumulative disbursements are $2.7 million or 15% (inclusive of advances to the imprest account), as shown in the ADB Loan Financial Information System. Slow project implementation has resulted in almost all activities and indicators of the Gender Action Plan (GAP) not being implemented either. Due to its slow implementation, low disbursement and contract awards, the project has been rated as an Actual Problem project in the ADB project performance management system. The mission concluded that many reforms and improvements are needed at the system and institutional level, which would create an enabling environment for future partnerships with international centers of excellence to improve the overall performance of the higher education sector. The financing for several critical reform aspects to improve the performance of HEIs can be provided under the project. On this basis, the mission agreed with MECS to restructure the project making it more focused and streamlined in order to achieve project objectives in the less than 2-year remaining period, while maintaining the general directions of the original loan agreement.

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 Communication, 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.

Status of Covenants

Category Rating
Loan 2766
Sector
Social
Financial Satisfactory
Economic
Others
Safeguards Satisfactory
Project Financial Statements

 

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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