Lao People's Democratic Republic: Secondary Education Sector Development Program (formerly Basic Education Sector Development Program II)

Sovereign Project | 40368-022

Summary

The proposed Secondary Education Sector Development Program (SESDP) is a sector development program (SDP), consisting of (i) a program loan; and (ii) a project grant. The program loan would support key policy reform actions focused on strengthening the secondary education subsector (SES) -- which consists of lower secondary and upper secondary education (LSE and USE) -- throughout the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). The project grant would finance investments that directly link to and support delivery on those policy actions and ensure they are effectively operationalized. Complementary program and project components will collectively address key priorities related to equitable access, quality and relevance, and subsector management in SES. The Program will principally be national or nationwide in scope, with access-related project investments targeted to selected disadvantaged and underserved areas.

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Project Name Secondary Education Sector Development Program (formerly Basic Education Sector Development Program II)
Project Number 40368-022
Country Lao People's Democratic Republic
Project Status Approved
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0257-LAO: Secondary Education Sector Development Program (formerly Basic Education Sector Development Program II)
Asian Development Fund US$ 30.00 million
Loan 2777-LAO: Secondary Education Sector Development Program (formerly Basic Education Sector Development Program II)
Asian Development Fund US$ 10.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector Education - Education sector development - Secondary - Secondary - social protection initiatives
Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description

The proposed Secondary Education Sector Development Program (SESDP) is a sector development program (SDP), consisting of (i) a program loan; and (ii) a project grant. The program loan would support key policy reform actions focused on strengthening the secondary education subsector (SES) -- which consists of lower secondary and upper secondary education (LSE and USE) -- throughout the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). The project grant would finance investments that directly link to and support delivery on those policy actions and ensure they are effectively operationalized. Complementary program and project components will collectively address key priorities related to equitable access, quality and relevance, and subsector management in SES. The Program will principally be national or nationwide in scope, with access-related project investments targeted to selected disadvantaged and underserved areas.

Subject to further review and dialogue between ADB and the Lao PDR government, the targeted impact of the Program will be improved educational attainment in Lao PDR, and the targeted outcome will be enhanced equity, quality, and efficiency of secondary education in Lao PDR. While the program and project components will principally be national or nationwide in scope, project investments to expand access will be targeted to 30 selected districts that are simultaneously classified by the government as "poorest" and "educationally disadvantaged".

The Program design directly supports the Ministry of Education in operationalizing the government's reform agenda and programs to strengthen education (with a focus on SES), including key targets set for SES under the Education Sector Development Framework (ESDF). Aligned with Lao PDR's ongoing SES reform agenda and ESDF's 3 pillars, the Program (including complementary policy program and investment project interventions) will deliver 3 core outputs: (i) expanded access to secondary education; (ii) improved delivery of new secondary education curricula; and (iii) strengthened SES management.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Government of Lao PDR ascribes a high priority to education, as a prerequisite for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. Government and international development partner (IDP) efforts have supported expanded education access, particularly at the primary level (grades 1-5), where state and IDP support has been concentrated. Gains have also been made in SES, with the transition to a 7-year system marking a key milestone: Completed during school years SY2009/10 and SY2010/11, the Ministry of Education (MOE's) extension of LSE from 3 to 4 years and subsequent addition of USE grade 12 aligns Lao PDR's system of primary (5 years), LSE (4 years), and USE (3 years) with the international standard of 12 years of primary and secondary schooling. At the same time, key gaps in terms of equitable access, quality and relevance, and subsector management undermine SES' and the entire education system's contributions to modernization, equity and inclusive growth, poverty reduction, and broader socioeconomic development in Lao PDR.

Access -- With expansion of primary education, SES has become a key bottleneck. From SY2006/07 to SY2009/10, the LSE gross enrolment rate (GER) rose from 53.3% to 60.2%, with the USE GER stagnant at 34.0%. Aggregate figures conceal large socioeconomic and geographic gaps: e.g., in SY2009/10, GERs for girls and boys in LSE were 44.4% and 56.1% in the poorest districts. Particularly in poor, rural, and largely ethnic group areas (where education quality is also lowest), enrolment rates decline steadily at higher grades of SES. Expanding access requires policy and investments to address an array of demand-side issues (e.g., financial and opportunity costs, weak primary school preparation, language and other cultural factors, and disabilities) and supply-side factors (e.g., weak school network coverage of remote areas, and inadequate financial and human resources), as well as quality issues.

Quality -- Low SES enrolment and high rates of repetition and especially dropout partly reflect quality gaps: The national LSE dropout rate was 13% in SY2009/10, and is much higher in many poor and ethnic areas. In 7 of the poorest provinces, only 11% to 25% of children are expected to reach and complete grade 11. Particularly for LSE, rapid rises in primary school graduates in recent years and limited resourcing have strained capacities to provide access to good quality education. As part of comprehensive SES reforms, MOE has developed new LSE and USE curricula and new LSE textbooks and teacher guides, and commenced the cohort-based phase-in of the new SES curriculum starting in SY2010/11. Follow-on policy and investment support will be critical to fully operationalize these reforms and realize gains from (and meet the jump in LSE enrolment and other challenges linked to) the addition of a fourth year of LSE in SY2009/10, and the potential of new LSE and USE curricula to better feed-in to subsequent learning and employment. Priorities include bolstering (i) systems and institutions providing pre- and in-service training and support to SES teachers; (ii) mechanisms for teacher deployment to poor, rural, and largely ethnic group areas (particularly in subjects like science and math); and (iii) investment in facilities and teaching and learning materials (ranging from textbooks to laboratory facilities).

Subsector management -- Interlinked with access and quality issues, gaps in subsector management undermine learning outcomes and SES' internal and external efficiency. Low investment poses an overarching issue for the education sector, and SES is particularly under-resourced, with ADB the only IDP providing comprehensive support. Financing gaps compound other urgent SES management challenges including in (i) institutional capacity, including the need for further rationalization alongside decentralization; (ii) human resources and technical and managerial capacities; (iii) planning and budgeting, as well as management information systems (MIS); (iv) assessment of teachers and of student learning outcomes, as well as broader quality control; and (v) enhanced mobilization of private sector actors.

To address these gaps and challenges, there is strong justification for a comprehensive SDP approach that aligns directly with the ESDF and other government strategies and policies. Approved by the Prime Minister in 2009, ESDF provides a roadmap for operationalizing the National Education System Reform Strategy, 2006-2015 and a unified framework to guide all government and IDP efforts. Dialogue toward ADB's next country partnership strategy for Lao PDR has identified education as a core sector, and the government has called on ADB to provide sustained support for SES via the proposed sector development program (the Program). This modality allows for comprehensive program and project support to advance progress within SES under all 3 ESDF pillars: (i) assuring equitable access, (ii) improving quality and relevance, and (iii) strengthening sector governance and performance management. The proposed Program builds directly on and dovetails with the ongoing Basic Education Sector Development Program (BESDP). In particular, it will continue BESDP's support for the phase-in of new curricula for LSE (starting SY2010/11) and USE (from SY2014/15), with policy and investment support to ensure full realization of the benefits of the new 7-year SES.

Impact Improved educational attainment in the Lao PDR
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Enhanced equity, quality, and efficiency of secondary education in the Lao PDR
Progress Toward Outcome Subject to more concerted assessment later in later stages, the Program appears to be on-track to achieving outcome-level targets.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Expanded access to secondary education

Improved delivery of new SES curricula

Strengthened SES management

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Output 1:

Construction of 12 new LSE schools (Batch 1) has been completed in 2013 and are operational. Batch 2 contracts for the construction of 18 LSE schools (including 2 sex-segregated toilet blocks and 60 dormitories) and 15 USE schools (including sex-segregated toilet blocks and 15 dormitories) are mostly completed, except for Xieng Khouang, Xayaboury, and Xekong, which were delayed due to late start-up. A school facilities maintenance manual for the sustainable utilization of the schools have been shared to school principals and VEDC/PPA representatives, including training on the implementation of the Manual. Dormitory management guidelines has been approved by ADB in June 2014. Furniture packages have also been provided to 30 LSE schools and new USE classrooms in 15 secondary schools.

Baseline for identification of stipend recipients (with IEC as lead implementing unit) has been completed in May 2014. A total of 1,740 M1 students (935 female; 1,566 from ethnic communities) and 1,200 M5 students (600 female; 1,068 from ethnic communities) received stipends under the Secondary Student Stipend Program (SSSP). An SSSP Manual, for the criteria and procedures in beneficiary selection and auditing, is also in place.

Output 2:

The graduate teacher placement scheme (GTPS) deployed 26 newly-graduate LSE science teachers teaching either physics and math, or chemistry and biology placed in 13 schools. Selection and deployment were based on the Department of Planning's guidelines prepared with SESDP support. Majority was deployed in existing LSE schools in disadvantaged rural areas, while remaining teachers were placed in new LSE schools constructed under Batch 1 and located in remote areas. Of the 26 teachers, 13 are female and 16 are from ethnic groups. GTPS support incentives for batch 1 were paid to beneficiaries in July 2014. Batch 2 GTPS included 39 teacher beneficiaries, and were deployed in SESDP new schools. Overall, GTPS beneficiaries consisted of 65 teachers, 34 of which are female and 55 came from ethnic communities.

MOES approved on 7 January 2014 (Minister's Decree No. 0047 on Approval and Announcement on the Use of the Guidelines on Annual Teacher Recruitment and Utilization Planning) the noted guidelines, and disseminated these for use by relevant MOES departments and all provincial education and sports services (PESS) and district education and sports bureaus (DESB) nationwide in developing annual teacher recruitment and utilization plans.

M3 & M4 textbooks and teacher guides delivered in January-early March 2013. M5 textbooks and teacher guides procurement has been undertaken in May 2014. Procurement of printing services for M5 textbooks and teacher guides ongoing, with completion of delivery expected before start of school year 2015/16.

Procurement of ICT4LE support package has been completed. Guidelines for the deployment of the five district secondary pedagogical advisers is undergoing review by DSE, DOP and RIES. Following ADB approval, capacity building workshops will be conducted where the ICT4LE support package will be turned over to selected 5 district SPAs for use in ICT4LE media-based resources to support teachers in LSE and USE schools in their districts.

The teacher upgrade grant (TUG) guideline was finalized in April 2014. Thirty (30) TUG beneficiaries, all science teachers from remote lower secondary schools from 30 disadvantaged districts with 11+3 qualifications, have completed the first year summer program in September 2014. The TUG beneficiaries are expected to earn their bachelor degrees after 2 more summer programs under TUG.

The Department of Physical Education, Music, and Arts completed the list based on guidelines in the PAM which was submitted to the PMU. The International Procurement Expert completed the writing of specifications for this list of equipment and the procurement specialist start work on this, targeting delivery by end of 2015.

The SESDP team assisted the DSE in coordination with ESQAC and the RIES in strengthening the national examinations for M4 and M7 through support in drafting of new Rules and Regulations by 2014. Workshops and learning events were facilitated by the international assessment expert and the local consultant. Based on the existing DSE guidelines, the SESDP consultants provided enhancements to the document to align with international standards and best practices.

The work plan to conduct ASLO for the second cohort of the BESDP was secured from the ADB. In January 2015, RIES has completed the tools for ASLO implementation, targeting the conduct of ASLO for M4 in March 2015.

Output 3:

School network mapping (SNM) methodology has been developed in close coordination with World Bank-supported FTI project, which will cover supply and demand aspects for both primary and secondary education. District level school network maps have been completed during a series of roll-out workshops in clusters of provinces in 2013. A total of 1,032 participants have been trained, including 159 female staff. The developed SNM software is currently being used by the ESC and is shared with development partners (such as JICA and the US Embassy) who request for information to determine school building investment priorities.

MOES has recognized the need for a systematic and comprehensive communication strategy to support reform processes; strengthen communication across MOES departments, institutions, and administrative levels; and enhance external communication to communities and other stakeholders. With support under the program's project, MOES has developed a Communication Strategy (2013 -2020) to Support the Education Reform Agenda. Among other dimensions, the strategy emphasizes the role of actors at different levels to disseminate and promote reforms and interventions (e.g., stipend programs) to support improvement of learning outcomes for the poorest children, girls, and ethnic group children as a key priority.

MOES has recognized that to date, investments in ICT in the Lao PDR education sector (as in many neighboring countries) have been ad hoc not guided by a clear policy that assesses possible ICT interventions against clearly defined education sector objectives, and reflects a balanced understanding of (i) the potential of forms of ICT (if embedded in broader approaches) as a tool to support education; (ii) ICT's limitations and substantial resource implications, including capital and (especially) recurrent costs, as well as human resource requirements; and (iii) potential pitfalls of hardware-driven approaches to ICT in education, including in terms of non-sustainability and undermining equity. In view of this, with support under the program's project, MOES (coordinated by the DSE) has developed a Policy on Information Communication Technology for Lao Education (ICT4LE) for Grades 1 -12. In December 2013, MOES issued a decree approving and promulgating the policy, to be utilized by the DSE, the Department of Preschool and Primary Education, MOES ICT Center, and other national and local entities to guide future ICT investments in grade 1 -12 education nationwide. The policy is a pioneering example within ADB''s developing member countries of a policy that emphasizes the need for ICT investments to be dictated by educational objectives; use technology that is appropriate to the context; and clearly prioritize equity and sustainability, including calling for the conduct of total cost of ownership analysis prior to the consideration of any potential ICT investment. As a policy action linked to the second tranche, the project under the program will support MOES to develop a related strategy to identify specific approaches and investments in ICT for education.

The tranche 1 Progress Report approved by ADB's President on 3 June 2014 (and circulated to the Board of Directors for information) recognized Lao PDR''s achievements in introducing block grants as a tool to advance equity of access, the quality of education provision, as well as effective decentralization by ensuring that schools and other education institutions have access to adequate resources to support locally determined recurrent costs. The Progress Report additionally recognized that MOES has put in place and operationalized a de facto policy on block grants for schools and education institutions at all levels within the MOE system, although this has not yet been consolidated into a singular comprehensive and dedicated policy document. At the same time, MOES recognizes that this de facto policy is divided across multiple policy-related documents covering different aspects and subsectors, and that lack of a consolidated and dedicated policy document providing cohesive and comprehensive coverage of block grants within all subsectors of education has undermined the efficiency of block grant implementation. MOES has thus committed to complete during 2014 the development of a consolidated, comprehensive, and dedicated policy document on block grants, as well as a revised and comprehensive operational manual to provide clear and detailed guidelines on the management of block grants, covering all levels of schools and other education institutions under MOES and incorporating a strengthened regulatory framework. A consensus was reached for the continued support for this process be a high priority for addition under the program's project component. The draft school block grant policy has been submitted for signing of the Minister. DOF targets to submit a copy of the signed document to the PMU by Q2 2015.

SNM tools developed and used in mapping of all districts nationwide include disaggregated data (e.g., numbers of female and male students).The database system for the student census for school years 2012/13 and 2013/14 is in place with assignment of unique student numbers. The SESDP team is preparing to submit the proposal for the next census in Q2 2015.

Geographical Location
Safeguard Categories
Environment C
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples B
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects The Program is classified as category C for environment, in accordance with ADB's Safeguards Policy Statement (2010), as it is likely to have minimal or no adverse environmental impacts. Civil works involves only small-scale construction of lower secondary schools and upper secondary facilities, with all sites will be on government-owned land and situated in non-sensitive areas.
Involuntary Resettlement The Program is classified as category C for involuntary resettlement, having no involuntary resettlement impacts. As noted above, all civil works will be small-scale and on government-owned land.
Indigenous Peoples For indigenous peoples (termed ethnic groups in Lao PDR), the Program is classified as category B, with considerable beneficial impacts for ethnic groups. Both SESDP's policy loan and project grant focus on addressing access and equity issues related to children from poor ethnic groups, particularly girls. Of the 30 districts targeted under output 1, 20 have mostly ethnic populations, and all 3 SESDP outputs emphasize improving access, quality, and SES management in poor, remote, and largely ethnic group areas. An Ethnic Group Plan (EGP) has been prepared in order to (i) outline the potential impacts of the Program (particularly the project) on ethnic groups, (ii) specify actions to address the impacts, and (iii) help improve the distribution of benefits to ethnic groups. The EGP supports integration of ethnic groups' needs and interests into each of the project outputs, and ensures effective participation and access to the benefits of the project. Key targets and/or features of the EGP include ensuring: (i) ethnic groups receive (a) 80% of dormitory spaces, scholarships, and remedial learning opportunities; (b) 80% of slots for a pilot teacher placement scheme and for teacher qualification upgrade grants; and (c) preferential access to in-service training (including as trainers); (ii) all textbooks and other materials developed under the project are ethnicity-sensitive; and (iii) institutional analysis, school network mapping, M&E, and other analytical work include ethnic group issues and criteria.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design In-depth dialogue with relevant government agencies throughout the Program design process; workshops/roundtables with agencies/departments at the central and provincial levels, international development partners, and private sector/nongovernment actors; compilation of existing data and conduct of focused studies; informal focused group discussions at both the institution and village/community levels; and direct consultations with school staff and students in target areas.
During Project Implementation In addition to international development partners, non-government entities (including private schools and non-profits) are being involved in SESDP-supported work to develop and/or operationalize new policies, such as on engaging private sector provision of and/or support to secondary education in Lao PDR. SESDP is also attempting to expand the role of communities in school management through strengthening pupil-parent committees, involvement of communities in SESDP initiatives like and access grants and the identification of needy students to receive stipends, as well as broader capacity building and support to promote community involvement in school improvement planning and school-based management.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

All consultants have been recruited according to ADB s Guidelines on the Use of Consultants.

A consulting firm for project implementation support has been recruited, consisting of a team of 19 international consultants (totaling 151 person-months) and 22 national consultants (totaling 340.0 person-months), using QCBS method with a standard quality cost ratio of 80:20 where full technical proposals (FTPs) have been required for submission.

Procurement

All procurement of goods and works to be financed under the grant will be undertaken in accordance with ADB s Procurement Guidelines,21 (2010, as amended from time to time) and the procurement plan prepared and agreed between the Government and ADB.

Under the project, international competitive bidding (ICB) procedures will be used for civil works contracts estimated to cost $1,500,000 or more, and supply contracts valued at $500,000. Contracts for works of more than $100,000 but less than $1,500,000 will follow national competitive bidding (NCB) procedures. Supply contracts for goods estimated below $500,000 but above $100,000 will be awarded on the basis of NCB. Items costing $100,000 or less will be procured through shopping.

Before the start of any procurement, ADB and the Government will review the public procurement laws of the central and state governments to ensure consistency with ADB s Procurement Guidelines.

Responsible ADB Officer Christopher A. Spohr
Responsible ADB Department Southeast Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Human and Social Development Division, SERD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education_and SportsLane Xang Avenue
Vientiane
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Timetable
Concept Clearance 28 Jun 2010
Fact Finding 09 May 2011 to 24 May 2011
MRM 01 Jul 2011
Approval 20 Sep 2011
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 30 Mar 2015

Grant 0257-LAO

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
20 Sep 2011 15 Nov 2011 09 Jan 2012 30 Jun 2019 - -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 32.36 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 30.00 20 Sep 2011 21.40 0.00 71%
Counterpart 2.36 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Sep 2011 21.29 0.00 71%

Loan 2777-LAO

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
20 Sep 2011 15 Nov 2011 09 Jan 2012 31 Dec 2016 - -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 10.00 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 10.00 20 Sep 2011 4.87 0.00 53%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Sep 2011 4.87 0.00 53%

Safeguard Documents

See also: Safeguards
Title Document Type Document Date
Secondary Education Sector Development Program: Indigenous Peoples Plan (Ethnic Group Plan) (as of Board approval) Indigenous Peoples Plans/Indigenous Peoples Development Plans Aug 2011

Evaluation Documents

See also: Independent Evaluation

No documents found.


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