Mongolia: Education for the Poor - Financial Crisis Response Project

Sovereign Project | 43127-012

Summary

The financial and economic crisis has forced the Government of Mongolia (the Government) to embark on a process of fiscal adjustment. This is primarily centered around expenditure restraint in view of the dramatic worsening of prices of key exports, dwindling international reserves, and increased pressures on its currency. The Government is acutely aware of the pressure the current global crisis is placing on Mongolia's most vulnerable citizens and has therefore asked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help safeguard achievements in the education sector and to mitigate any negative impact of the crisis on the poor.

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Project Name Education for the Poor - Financial Crisis Response Project
Project Number 43127-012
Country Mongolia
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0158-MON: Education for the Poor - Financial Crisis Response Project
Asian Development Fund US$ 17.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector Education - Education sector development - Pre-primary and primary - Secondary - social protection initiatives
Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The financial and economic crisis has forced the Government of Mongolia (the Government) to embark on a process of fiscal adjustment. This is primarily centered around expenditure restraint in view of the dramatic worsening of prices of key exports, dwindling international reserves, and increased pressures on its currency. The Government is acutely aware of the pressure the current global crisis is placing on Mongolia's most vulnerable citizens and has therefore asked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help safeguard achievements in the education sector and to mitigate any negative impact of the crisis on the poor. The Project will support (i) financing of meals at preschools for children ages 2-5 to protect access to preschools for poor children; (ii) continuation of the targeted provision of textbooks to secondary school students from poor families; (iii) provision of block grants to schools in need of operation and maintenance funds; and (iv) capacity building at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (MECS) in financial management, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation to enable MECS to better deal with budget constraints. The Project is in line with the $229.2 million standby arrangement of the International Monetary Fund for Mongolia that requires the Government to maintain a tight fiscal policy to restore fiscal sustainability, and advocates donor support to mitigate the impact of the fiscal adjustment on the poor. The Project complements the Social Sectors Support Program approved in June 2009 that will support a comprehensive overhaul of the existing system of social transfer programs to better target these programs to the very poor while conserving fiscal resources. The Social Sectors Support Program will introduce proxy means testing (PMT) to improve targeting of the provision of free textbooks and the Project will help MECS operationalize PMT and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of education service delivery. The Project is a sector intervention that will support the Government in addressing short-term financing needs and continuing longer-term policy reform in the education sector.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy Mongolia ranks high among comparator countries in terms of education expenditures, enrollment figures and completion rates. Achievements in expanding access to preschool and basic education are at risk of being undermined by the current crisis. Maintaining access to education for the poor and ensuring quality education services during the period of necessary fiscal adjustments is a major challenge for the Government. Decreasing real wages and unemployment impede poor households' ability to provide adequate food and necessities. Without continuation of assistance programs, poor households may be forced to withdraw their children from school, and to revert to inadequate diets resulting in malnutrition. The likely increase in dropout rates of school students is serious because of the significant risk that such students will not return to school even after economic conditions have improved, or that they will not be able to catch up with their peers when they return. The Project's pro-poor approach will focus on (i) free feeding programs at preschools to ease the financial burden on parents, and to provide an incentive for preschool enrollment and attendance; (ii) targeted provision of textbooks to secondary school students from poor families to help maintain school attendance rates; and (iii) provision of block grants to fund school operational cost and essential learning and teaching materials in selected schools.
Impact Access to and quality of education will be maintained and system efficiency further enhanced during the time of the economic and financial crisis and thereafter
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Education system financing and efficiency improved.
Progress Toward Outcome

Financing and enhancing the feeding program at the pre-school. For the academic year of 2009-2010, $6,895,585 was disbursed for the feeding program. About 148,000 are direct beneficiaries of the financing of feeding program for pre-schools.

Targeted provision of textbooks for secondary education schools' students. A total of 1.6 million of textbooks for grades of 6,7,8, and 9 for 11 years schooling system and grades of 7, 8,9,10 for transition to 12 years schooling system were published and distributed to all 605 public schools. A total of 3.3 million MNT was spent for the publication and distribution under 0158 project. About 810,000 children benefited from the free textbook provision for 2009-2012. Around 40% of all students in lower and upper secondary schools received textbooks. The provision of free textbooks to targeted groups was a good measure in the learning achievements of students. Teacher guides in several subjects were developed and published in 2011 and 2012. About 147 million MNT was spent. A total of 47,830 teachers from secondary schools were provided with teacher guides. There is an improvement in the existing textbook delivery mechanisms and an active involvement of school authorities and school council in the scheme. In August to September 2012, 100,000 pcs of brochures with information on free textbooks were distributed to the target groups through khoroo's and soum's /smallest administrative unit of city and aimag/ social workers. Information brochures were distributed to 330 soum's and 121 khoroo's social workers.

Block grant Implementation. Block grants were piloted and implemented successfully in two phases in 51 secondary schools in Dornod, Khovd, Khuvsgul aimags in the SY 2010/11. This is the first initiative which allowed the schools to conduct their plans, purchase goods, and work with the involvement of the local community as well as teachers and students. School committees participated in all activities from the proposal writing, implementation and monitoring.

Improvement of the hygienic conditions of the secondary school toilets. Schools Nos. 65,42,85, 87, 88, 37 and 60, which are located in the outskirt of Ulaanbaatar, were covered under this activity. The toilets and the hygienic conditions of the schools were much improved. About 247 million MNT was spent for this activity. As a consequence, there was improvement in the learning, working and health conditions of the students, teachers and staff.

In the capacity building component, the project consultants worked to build the capacity of MES staff in the areas of monitoring & evaluation, budgeting and financial management, school management, and community involvement. The consultants carried out an in-depth empirical study of education finance at various levels: central level, aimag/city level, district level as well as school level.The expert team focused on developing indicators as well as system requirements for developing a School Information System (SIS).

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. Provision of meals at preschools to children ages 2-5 is ensured during the financial crisis

2. Targeted provision of textbooks for secondary school students from poor families is ensured during the financial crisis

3. Provision of block grants to schools including boarding schools is ensured during the financial crisis

4. Improved capacity at national and local levels in important aspects of education administration and management

(i) Capacity is built in MECS for better budget analysis, policies on EMIS, and monitoring and evaluation

4. (ii) Capacity developed in leadership, management, monitoring, and evaluation at selected schools to improve local education service delivery at the local level

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues) Project progress in all four project outputs is on track, and all major targets are set to be achieved as the implementation period nearers closing. A project completion report is planned to be prepared after project ends.
Geographical Location Mongolia
Safeguard Categories
Environment C
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design The Project was designed in a participatory process involving major national and provincial government and nongovernment stakeholders, school directors and teachers, community leaders, and development partners through regular consultations, workshops, and presentations. During project preparation a survey of 107 schools (13% of Mongolian schools) in rural, remote, and urban ger locations was designed and conducted; 54 FGDs were organized in four aimags plus Ulaanbaatar with 570 parents and teachers of preschools, primary, and secondary schools.
During Project Implementation Much has been accomplished over the past months in the (i) recruitment of consulting firm and individual consultants, (ii) fielding of an international textbook procurement specialist and to come up with the necessary output on textbook procurement reports, guidelines, and production specifications, and (iii) procurement of secondary school textbooks, block grants, kindergarten meals, trainings and workshops, and capacity building. Another highlight of the project is its collaboration with another project, Grant No. 0125: Education Sector Reform Program, which worked very well for both projects. The procurement process for selection of consulting firm to develop e-library is currently underway.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services A total of 31 person-months of international consulting services and 75 person-months of national consulting services will be contracted with grant funds. The international and national consultants will have expertise in education finance, management, and planning; textbook provision systems; delivery of school block grants; child nutrition and early childhood education; central and local monitoring and evaluation; and school management.
Procurement Grant-financed goods and services will be procured in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines. Procurement of new textbooks will use national competitive bidding, textbooks already approved by MECS will use direct contracting and shopping, and interactive training modules for school principals will use international competitive bidding and national competitive bidding satisfactory to ADB.
Responsible ADB Officer Sofia Shakil
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Urban and Social Sectors Division, EARD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education,Culture and ScienceBandiiESDP@MONGOL.NETBaga Toiruu 44, Government Building III, Room number 114, Ulaanbaatar-11, Mongolia
Timetable
Concept Clearance 28 Apr 2009
Fact Finding 11 May 2009 to 24 May 2009
MRM 17 Jul 2009
Approval 18 Sep 2009
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 08 Apr 2009
Last PDS Update 25 Mar 2014

Grant 0158-MON

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
18 Sep 2009 09 Oct 2009 09 Dec 2009 30 Sep 2012 31 Aug 2014 18 Aug 2014
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 26.36 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 17.00 18 Sep 2009 17.00 0.00 100%
Counterpart 9.36 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 18 Sep 2009 17.00 0.00 100%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory - - - - Satisfactory

Safeguard Documents

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Evaluation Documents

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