Mongolia: Higher Education Reform Project

Sovereign Project | 43007-023 Status: Approved


ADB is helping Mongolia improve the quality of its higher education system and increase enrollment by youth from poor, remote communities. The project will enhance the quality and relevance of higher education programs and address issues such as governance and management, financing, and access. It will fund research facilities and staff training, and support public-private partnerships.

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Consulting Notices

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Procurement Notices

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Procurement Documents

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Project Name Higher Education Reform Project
Project Number 43007-023
Country Mongolia
Project Status Approved
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 2766-MON: Higher Education Reform Project
Asian Development Fund US$ 20.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Education - Tertiary

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
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 Toward Outcome In total 1997 administrators, faculty and staff attended various training in 21 different topics organized under the project. 85 administrators, faculty and staff participated in 9 study tours overseas. Nearly 50% of the target has been achieved so far.
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 Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

With the help of Consultancy Service for Higher Education Reform (CSHER), MECS and PIU have identified 4 programs in priority disciplines to be accredited internationally, and 12 programs to be accredited nationally.

MECS and PIU are working on organizational development of the NCEA, establishment of national internal quality assurance mechanism and development of new criteria and procedure for institutional and program accreditation.

IRIM LLC, engaged to provide the consultancy service, has been supporting the HEIs to do labor market and tracer studies in 2015 in accordance with the developed methodology.

Guidelines of competitive grants for HEI institutional faculty development and research grants have been approved by MECS, and the PIU is finalizing the all the preparatory steps to advertise the grants from mid-September 2015.

Official handover of 12 research laboratory equipment to the National University of Mongolia and University of Science and Technology was held on 10 September 2015. The $1.3 million laboratory equipment aim to strengthen research capacity of Mongolian universities.

The first meeting of an International HE Advisory Panel (IAP) that consist of leading experts in higher education, was held on March 25-27, 2015. Jamil Salmi, former coordinator of the World Banks tertiary education program and Kai-Ming Cheng, former president of University of Hong Kong and Chair of Division for Policy, Faculty of Education presented papers on Global Trend in HE governance and Finance and HE for Tomorrow. During their stay in Ulaanbaatar, the IAP members met the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science and Mr. Gonchigorj, Deputy Speaker of Parliament on HE policy and amendments to the education laws. IAP members submitted to MECS their preliminary observation and recommendations for HE sector development of Mongolia.

The Consultancy Service for Higher Education Reform (CSHER) consultants identified governance, management and financing model to be piloted under the project at the selected public and private HEIs. MECS and PIU have identified HEIs to involve in the pilot program.

Male enrolment rate has reached 41.5% in the academic year of 2013/14 despite absence of the project intervention.

Geographical Location
Safeguard Categories
Environment C
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects The simplified environmental management plan was prepared to ensure full mitigation of any environmental impacts of limited civil works such as rehabilitation of existing facilities and libraries under 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) was 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.
Responsible ADB Officer Itgel Lonjid
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Mongolia Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education,Culture and Science
Government Building-III, Suite # 514,
Baga toiruu-44, Sukhbaatar district
Concept Clearance 10 Aug 2010
Fact Finding 30 Aug 2010 to 14 Sep 2010
MRM 08 Feb 2011
Approval 28 Jul 2011
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 11 Sep 2015

Loan 2766-MON

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
28 Jul 2011 09 Sep 2011 10 Jan 2012 30 Jun 2017 - -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 22.22 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 20.00 28 Jul 2011 6.31 0.00 36%
Counterpart 2.22 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 28 Jul 2011 5.37 0.00 30%
Title Document Type Document Date
Higher Education Reform Project: Procurement Plan Procurement Plans Aug 2015
Loan Agreement for Higher Education Reform Project between Mongolia and Asian Development Bank dated 9 September 2011 Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Sep 2011
Higher Education Reform Project: Project Administration Memoranda Project/Program Administration Manual Jul 2011
Higher Education Reform Project: Gender Action Plans Gender Action Plans Jul 2011
Higher Education Reform Project Reports and Recommendations of the President Jul 2011
Higher Education Reform Project Summary Poverty Reduction and Social Strategies Jul 2011

Safeguard Documents

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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.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents

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Related Publications

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