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

Sovereign Project | 40368-022 Status: Approved


ADB is helping the Lao People's Democratic Republic improve access to and enhance the quality of secondary education in the country. The project will expand access to secondary schooling in the poorest districts, prioritizing girls and those from remote ethnic communities. It will improve the delivery of the new curriculum nationwide, and strengthen management of the sector.

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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
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

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:

Batch 1 civil works, which included LSE school building as well as separate, sex-segregated toilet blocks, have been completed and are operational. Batch 2 civil works comprised construction of the remaining 18 new LSE schools, along with provision of 2 sex-segregated toilet buildings and 60 dormitories, and 15 USE schools (including sex-segregated toilet blocks and 15 dormitories) have been awarded. As of July 2015, all facilities have been fully completed.

Building design of USE facilities only involved minor modifications of the LSE facility design (that will ensure access to disabled children). USE schools were bid out along with LSE schools. As of July 30, 2015, 33 packages were completed including 33 schools and 75 dormitories and 63 Toilets. All of these facilities are being utilized.

For the initial 12 LSE schools covered in Batch 1, furniture procurement has been incorporated into contracts principally for Batch 1 civil works, and all SESDP-funded school buildings. Classrooms had been fully furnished and turned-over to school management and are currently being used. For Batch 2, the SESDP Team adopted the merging of civil works and furniture packages (split across 2 cost categories), where furniture packages were delivered along with packages for school facilities construction. This is 100% completed to date.

To support SSSP implementation, the SESDP Team in close coordination with the IEC, designed a baseline study methodology to establish LSE and USE baseline in 30 districts. The LSE and USE baseline was conducted in parallel and in close coordination with the school network mapping activity under activity area 3A2. LSE and USE stipend baseline study, focused on identifying stipend recipients for the LSE portion of the SSSP under activity areas 1B2 and 1B4.

The Baseline Study was completed with IEC as the lead implementing unit in mid-May 2014. Stipends recipients have been determined and baseline data was established in 30 districts, with the major milestone of stipends payment completed in October-December 2014. IEC ensured the full participation and involvement of the community in the selection process by asking the school principals to prioritize the list of beneficiaries with VEDC and PPA representatives. Number of stipend beneficiaries under SESDP are as follows: (i) LSE 1740: Girls 941 (54%); Boys 799. Total LSE replacements if 51; (ii) USE 1196: Girls 591 ( 49.41%); Boys 605. Total USE replacements is 43.

The USE and LSE components of the SSSP started in SY2014/15. As noted in activity area 1B2, both components were covered under a singular SSSP Guidelines, which included detailed demarcation of distinctions between the two components. The list of stipends recipients was completed per process described in Activity 1B2 . Total USE stipend beneficiaries equal to 1,196 M5 students; 591 are female (49.41%), 1,068 (89%) ethnic.

33 packages including dormitories were 100% completed and handed over to schools. The SESDP Team in close collaboration with DSE and IEC developed the guidelines for dormitory management approved by the ADB in June 2014. The guideline which included the roles of school staff and the broader community, was finalized in consultation workshops held from November 2012 to March 2013. In May 2015 , a mini-survey of the number of students using the LSE and USE dormitories was conducted and reported that there were 2643 students residents ( 67.7% of occupation) ,1286 were female ( 65.8% of female occupation).

The SESDP Team supported the DSE and IEC in completing the guidelines for both the LSE and USE School Access Grant Program (SAGP), packaged as an SAGP Manual , via a series of consultation workshops. The SAGP Manual was approved by MOES after ADB's approval in July 2014, and presented in a series of bi-annual congress participated in by 88 principals, 55 PPA members and 26 VEDC members from 100 SESDP-supported schools.

75 SAGP proposals have been received to date, based on school improvement plans (SIPs) which were also a requirement for SAGP submission, with funds transferred to date to 73 schools, except Ban Kor USE, Saysathane District, Sayabouly Province and Chaleunsay USE Sansay District, Attapeu Province. By the beginning of the SY 2015-16, all SAGP funds will be transferred to all schools.

Output 2:

Graduate Teacher Placement Scheme (GTPS) targeted and deployed 26 newly graduated LSE science teachers teaching either physics and math, or chemistry and biology placed in 13 schools in the same 5 districts to be covered by activity 2B4. Of 26 teachers, 13 are female (50%), while 16 are from ethnic groups (61.5%). The GTPS design tried to ensure that the scheme meets related GAP and EGP targets (at least 50% females and 80% ethnic group teachers), however the ethnicity target was not met due to the fact that some of the areas are not mostly populated by ethnic groups thus 39 teachers were added in the GTPS program to provide more coverage for the trial scheme and at the same time meet the ethnicity requirement. Based on the DOP summary report, out of the 39 ethnic (100%) candidates, 21 or 53.84% are female. Of the total 65 GTPS beneficiaries, 34 (52%) are female, while 55 (85%) are from ethnic groups.

SESDP has supported development of draft guidelines for teacher recruitment and utilization planning, as required under policy action T1.(ii).3; and under the second thrust on TPME, the SESDP Team has supported DOP's drafting of the guidelines and operational manual on teacher performance M&E, as required for policy action T1.(ii).4. Both the ATRUP (Decree No. 0047 dated January 7, 2014) and TPME (Decree No. 1811 dated December 5, 2013) guidelines were approved and signed by the MOES in fulfillment of the 2013 policy conditions.

Discussions with DSE, DTE and RIES on the development of a portfolio of content and materials for science subjects intended to support SES science teachers to master learner-centered pedagogy in their subjects, use locally available materials to conduct experiments where lab equipment is limited, etc., are currently ongoing. The draft action plan has been prepared and will be finalized as soon as the M6 teacher training is completed.

The ICT4E support package includes (i) print: In-service training manual (hard copy); curriculum guide/syllabus; Multi-media: Video CD/DVD of adapted school-based management ; and Learner-centered materials; Shift happens to signal the urgent need to integrate changes into the curriculum and the delivery scheme; (ii) Online: The same materials, including e-versions of the teacher guides will be posted online; (iii) Broadcast: the Souksamai TV and Souksamai radio shows are now being reformatted to include SESDP in-service training modules. RIES now has its own FB Page, to webcast learning materials, including online learning support system for peer learning for SPAs.

The Teacher Upgrade Grant guideline was finalized in April 2014, and related workshops to complete summer upgrading curriculum have been conducted. The TUG implementation started in 2014, with 30 science teacher beneficiaries from remote lower secondary schools from 30 disadvantaged districts with 11+3 qualifications. Of the 30 beneficiaries, 17 (or 54%) are female and 24 (or 80%) are ethnic.

PMU will provide before the end of 30 September 2015 an update on confirmed distribution of M1-M6 textbooks and teacher guides to all SESDP-constructed LSE schools and USE classroom.

Procurement of arts and music kits for 45 SESDP-constructed schools/classroom blocks ongoing.

Output 3:

The Project, in close coordination and cooperation with the World Bank-supported FTI project, provided assistance to the Education Statistics Center (ESC)/MOES in developing the school network mapping (SNM) methodology, which covered supply and demand aspects for both primary and secondary education, and assisted the ESC in developing the SNM approach using Quantum Geographic Information System (GIS) software. District level school network maps have been completed during a series of roll-out workshops in clusters of provinces in June-August 2013, with the final consolidation workshop conducted on September 2013. A total of 1,032 participants have been trained, including 159 female staff. The school network maps of the 30 BESDP districts were used in informing decision on the selection of sites for the 15 USE classroom blocks, and have fed into and/or link with other processes (e.g., LSE and USE baseline work under sub-output 1B). The SNM report has been completed and has been submitted to the ADB to comply with the policy condition on SNM. 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 Decree No.1842/MOES/2013 dated 31 December 2013 on school network mapping was developed by the MOES with SESDP support.

Focus on communication work includes the following: (i) reform/policy-level shifts, as well as (ii) related advocacy (e.g., to raise awareness of ongoing SES curricular and structural reforms to ensure efficacy of the MOES' new policy and strategy on inclusive education, etc.). The SESDP Team assisted relevant MOES institutions in drafting the communication strategy, through a series of workshops and meetings. The Communication Strategy to Support the Education Reform Agenda (2013-2020) was signed by the Minister in January 2014 No.: 5774/MOES dated 31 December 2013. A copy was submitted to the ADB in January 2014 in fulfillment of the 2013 policy conditions.

Communication strategy including communication materials for radio, social media, TV and print has been prepared, and training of PESS and DESB officers on roles and functions completed.

Under capacity development programs, a series of focus group meetings and one workshop were conducted to support a policy dialogue to revise the existing decree on private education, and mobilization of private (including non-profit) actors' support to SES. The draft decree has been submitted to the Ministry of Justice and revisions are ongoing.

The SESDP Team has supported MOES in drafting the Policy on ICT for Lao Education signed by the Minister per MOES Decree No 5776/ES/2013 dated 31 December 2013. The document was also submitted to ADB to substantiate policy condition fulfillment. Policy formulation was completed through a series of consultation workshops with the MOES partners, DPOs and other stakeholders. Currently in the works is the drafting of the ICT strategy which will be presented in a series of workshop consultation to fulfill Tranche 2 policy conditions.

Provision of the school block grant policy has been discussed and agreed upon among stakeholders in various workshops supported by the SESDP. The draft policy was presented by DOF to Focus Group 3 meeting. Based on FG 3 comments, the draft policy was revised and updated by the DOF and approved by MOES in June 2015.

Capacity of pupil-parent associations (PPAs) will be strengthened via the bi-annual workshops with the 100 SESDP schools as outlined in the draft Institutional Assessment Report and the School Based Management Handbook. The BAC will address the capacity building of PPAs. Specific capacity building and training interventions with them are outlined in the SBM Handbook.

The database system for the student census for school years 2012/13 and 2013/14 are in place with the assignment of unique student numbers. The capacity building workshop for the 3rd round census was conducted on May 18, 2015 and was attended by 61 EMIS staff from the various districts of whom 16 were female.

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.


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 Spohr
Responsible ADB Department Southeast Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Human and Social Development Division, SERD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education_and Sports
Lane Xang Avenue
Lao People's Democratic Republic
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 25 Sep 2015

Grant 0257-LAO

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 22.11 0.00 74%
Counterpart 2.36 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Sep 2011 23.89 0.00 80%

Loan 2777-LAO

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

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

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

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.