40368-022: Secondary Education Sector Development Program (formerly Basic Education Sector Development Program II) | Asian Development Bank

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

Sovereign (Public) Project | 40368-022 Status: Active

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.

Project Details

Project Officer
Spohr, Christopher A. Southeast Asia Department Request for information
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Grant
  • Loan
  • Education
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 Active
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)
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 30.00 million
Loan 2777-LAO: Secondary Education Sector Development Program (formerly Basic Education Sector Development Program II)
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 10.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
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 Ongoing implementation.
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:

Civil works activities and furniture provision have been completed. As with other civil works, sex-segregated dormitories (along with separate toilet blocks) were completed and turned over at all 60 LSE sites (and 15 USE sites) prior to the start of SY2015/16 (in the last sites).

Given the deferred timeline of the LSE stipend program, the USE baseline was conducted as part of a merged LSE and USE Stipend Baseline Study. The USE stipend program also commenced from SY2014/15 and is in its third year of operation, with USE beneficiaries now in their final year (M7).

All 60 participating LSE schools (and 15 USE schools) successfully completed liquidation of first-cycle SAGP funds in January 2017.

Output 2:

Procurement of science kits has been completed. Library, arts, and PE materials are still awaiting procurement, and the provision of ICT learning resources has been limited due to delays in development of such materials.

The GTPS pilot was completed in 2 batches: (i) 26 GTPS Batch 1 teachers including 13 females (50%) and 16 from ethnic groups (61.5%) were deployed to schools in 5 targeted districts (the same ones covered by the DSPA pilot) during October-December 2013; and (ii) 39 GTPS Batch 2 teachers including 21 females (54%) and all from ethnic groups were deployed to schools in a total of 14 districts (in 7 provinces) in September 2014.

As noted under Policy Areas 2_1 and 2_2: (i) Under the first thrust on annual teacher recruitment and utilization planning (ATRUP), the SESDP Team supported DOP's drafting of the ATRUP guidelines and operational manual, which was approved in January 2014 per policy action T1.(ii).3. (ii) Under the second thrust on TPME, the SESDP Team supported DOP's drafting of the guidelines and operational manual on teacher performance M&E, which was approved in December 2013 per policy action T1.(ii).4. Under the approved TPME, teacher salary increases have been linked to performance, effective SY2014/15.

DSE, RIES, and DTE have successfully implemented annual training rounds for M3-M7 teachers. It is indicated that M3-M7 INSET rounds provided an estimated total of 25,071 person-times of teacher training, with 49.8% female and 16% from ethnic groups.

Following procurement of material production-related equipment in August 2013 and several capacity building activities for RIES staff, RIES has developed an array of media-based materials, ranging from content for RIES TV and radio programs, to a training resource DVD distributed to trainers for the M5 teacher training round, to video segments on student-centered learning and SBM (posted on Youtube), and various presentations posted on Slideshare.net).

Annual SPA conferences have been conducted, alongside the TOT for the M4 and M5-M7 INSET training rounds. DSE and the SESDP Team turned over procured elements of the intended resource package45 and conducted a training workshop for the 5 DSPAs along with PESS and DESB representatives in February 2015.

The TUG Program was conducted during the school holidays in 2014 through 2017, with all 30 TUG recipients awarded bachelor degrees in August 2016. All 30 teachers are reported to be still teaching in the same sending LSE schools in remote areas.

Distribution of M3 and M4 textbooks and teacher guides has been completed (with follow-up support for USE grades).

Prior to each of school years SY2014/15 through SY2016/17, the PMU organized procurement and delivery of M5-M7 textbooks and teacher guides to schools/districts before the teacher training and school opening. The limited pilot was completed by February 2013, with manuscripts finalized and printed under activity area 2C3.

Science kits were procured (as part of a combined package for activity areas 2A2, 2D1, 2D3) and installed in TTIs and schools by June 2016. Library materials are still pending.

Provision of arts/music/PE kits has completed delivery to the 30 new LSE schools and additionally to the 15 new USE classroom blocks in May 2016. Science kits were installed in schools by June 2016, while library materials are still pending.

The SESDP Team supported DSE in drafting a strengthened Rules and Regulations on Secondary Student Assessment and Examinations (approved on 27 May 2014), which was applied to M4 and M7 national exams starting in SY2014/15 and incorporates classroom-based assessment (in addition to scores on the national exam) into a final composite assessment. Subsequently, the SESDP Team also supported DSE's revision of the Handbook for Student Examinations (used by PESS, DESB, and schools in conducting M4 and M7 exams annually).

RIES carried out the M4 ASLO in May 2015. With SEDSP Team support, RIES prepared an assessment of results, finalized in January 2017. The M7 ASLO will be deferred by 1 year to May 2018 to allow preparation.

Output 3:

The SESDP Team assisted the MOES in developing a school network mapping (SNM) methodology and provided capacity development at various levels on use of Quantum Geographic Information System (GIS) for SNM. The first round SNM was completed in September 2013. Education Statistics Center (ESC) has subsequently updated the SNM through SY2015/16, including to reflect the newly formed Xaysomboun Province and addition of 2 new districts in Huaphan.

In May 2016, SESDP supported DSE and DOP in conducting a teacher census (on a pilot basis) in 30 districts, as a rider to the May 2016 round of the student census (see activity area 3D2). Prior missions had also discussed improvements to the ASCF, ATRUP, and/or DOP PMIS quarterly data collection/update instruments, by including columns for basic information on each teacher (e.g., name, id number, gender, ethnicity) plus a series of columns (indicatively 14) to capture subject-grade combinations.

Communication/dissemination advocacy strategy has been approved via ministerial decree dated 31 December 2013, linked to policy action T1.(iii).3. The SESDP Team has supported DOF and RIES in drafting textbook policy policy titled _Ministerial Decree on the Textbook Policy (Development and Management of Textbooks, Teacher Guides, and Instructional Materials)_ covering ECCD through M7, which has been revised through a series of consultations.

All PPAs been reconstituted in alignment with SESDP guidelines, including ensuring compliance with 50% female representation and other GAP and EGP requirements. The SEDSP Team has confirmed PPA rosters for all 100 schools in a PPA database, with females constituting at least 50% of membership in each PPA and 53% of total membership across the 100 schools. Each PPA also has at least 1 female and 1 male student representative. The SESDP team has supported DSE to draft a concise stand-alone Guidelines on PPA Establishment covering PPAs at primary as well as secondary schools, which is expected to be finalized and disseminated following establishment of the merged Department of General Education.

The SESDP Team completed an enhanced M&E Plan in June 2015, and has updated related M&E interventions and databases continuously.

Following completion of the baseline LSE student census round at the end of SY2012/13, the SESDP Team supported DSE's conduct of the post-baseline census rounds in May 2014, May 2015, and May 2016.

SESDP benefits greatly from a strong and highly committed PMU, which has been a critical component of SESDP's achievements to date (as recognized by MPI-LRM awarding 3 years consecutively).

Geographical Location Muang Beng, Muang Boualapha, Muang Dakchung, Muang Gnot-Ou, Muang Houamuang, Muang Khaleum, Muang Khamkeut, Muang Khoun, Muang Long, Muang Meung, Muang Na Kay, Muang Nale, Muang Namo, Muang Nga, Muang Ngoy, Muang Nong, Muang Pha Oudom, Muang Phin, Muang Phouvong, Muang Samouay, Muang Sangthong, Muang Sanxai, Muang Viangphoukha, Muang Viengxay, Muang Vilabouli, Muang Xaignabouli, Muang Xam-Tai, Muang Xepon, Samphanh
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 involved only small-scale construction of lower secondary schools and upper secondary facilities, with all sites were 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 have been 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 Spohr, Christopher A.
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 29 Sep 2017

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 26.65 0.00 89%
Counterpart 2.36 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Sep 2011 33.60 0.00 112%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - Satisfactory - - - -

Loan 2777-LAO

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
20 Sep 2011 15 Nov 2011 09 Jan 2012 31 Dec 2016 30 Jun 2018 -
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 52%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Sep 2011 4.87 0.00 52%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - Satisfactory - - - -

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

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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.


No tenders for this project were found.

Contracts Awarded

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Procurement Plan