Policy on Education

ADB is committed to helping developing member countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, including the achievement of universal primary education, and gender equality in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.

ADB supports education at all levels. Its policies and activities directly contribute to overall programs for poverty reduction.

ADB’s education policy gives particular attention to increasing equity and access; improving quality; strengthening management; mobilizing resources; strengthening partnerships; and applying new and innovative technologies, especially information and communication technology (ICT).

Education policies and strategies:

Priority areas

Good quality, inclusive education is essential to building human capital and a well-skilled labor force to underpin a modern, competitive economy. For this reason, ADB has identified education as a core area of operations. The Education Sector Operations Plan identifies key challenges confronting the developing countries of Asia and the Pacific, and presents ADB’s response to assisting countries in meeting those challenges.

In line with its long-term strategic framework, Strategy 2020, ADB will:

  • Increase and continue to align its support in the education sector to meet the changing needs and priorities of its developing member countries (DMCs). ADB will scale up its programming of loans, grants, and technical assistance, and strengthen economic sector work.
  • Emphasize strengthening quality, inclusiveness, and relevant skills at all levels of education. ADB will assist countries to move beyond a narrow focus on school enrollment at the basic level of education, to boosting quality and moving toward universal secondary education. ADB will also support broad policy reforms and capacity development, as well as the strengthening of social protection measures that help girls and disadvantaged students to attend school. Support to postsecondary education will help DMCs diversify and expand higher education, and ensure that technical and vocational education and training (TVET) contributes to filling labor market gaps and meeting the needs of informal sector workers.
  • Adjust subsector priorities while recognizing major differences in education needs across countries. ADB will support comprehensive educational programs to improve basic and secondary education to meet international development targets. Decentralized approaches and partnerships with local communities will receive increasing support. In response to growing demand from students completing secondary education, and labor market requirements, a larger share of ADB’s education sector portfolio will be dedicated to postsecondary education.
  • Utilize new and innovative models of service delivery and financing. ADB will use public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a way to improve the quality and cost-efficiency of education. It will also help DMCs rationalize education planning and financing. ADB will design projects so that they are attractive for private investment, while meeting objectives of government and other stakeholders. Further, ADB will support DMC efforts to increase the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education service delivery.
  • Promote regional cooperation and cross-border collaboration. ADB will facilitate labor mobility by supporting regional cooperation initiatives for the harmonization of education and skills qualifications. Supporting regional cooperation is a unique institutional strength of ADB as a regional development bank.