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

Sovereign 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.

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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 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)
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 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:

(1A1) Batch 1 civil works included the LSE school building as well as separate, sex-segregated toilet blocks (consistent with the GAP), but dormitory construction at these sites was deferred to Batch 2 contracts. Batch 1 construction of classrooms and toilet blocks was completed at all sites (with the final site 100% completed on 24 April 2014, with others completed by the end of 2013 or early 2014), and all facilities have been turned over and are in use. For 3 Batch 1 sites, the PMU is following up with contractors to request the final 10% retention payment.

Civil works for the remaining 18 new LSE schools was organized alongside provision of USE classroom blocks and other elements of a larger Batch 2 . In particular, the scope of Batch 2 procurement merged: (i) LSE classrooms and separate, sex-segregated toilets/sanitation facilities at 18 sites for new LSE schools; (ii) USE classroom blocks and similar toilet/sanitation facilities at 15 USE Model sites; (iii) sex-segregated dormitories at a total of 75 sites (30 new LSE Model 1 school sites, 30 existing LSE Model 2 sites, and 15 USE Model sites); and (iv) related furniture. Following MOES' identification of a new site (based on SNM findings) and validation, ADB gave no-objection to proceed with bidding for civil works for a new site in Thong Khaen village of Kalum District in May 2014. The MTR was updated that all 18 new LSE schools in Batch 2 have now been fully completed (with the final site 100% completed by July 2015), with all facilities turned over and in use before the start of SY2015/16 (if not earlier). Financial progress is at 90% (awaiting retention payments) at 16 sites, but 0% for Nam Oun in Xiengkhuang and 57% for Thongkaen in Xekong, due to delays in contractor claim submission.

(1A2) Sites for the 15 sites for USE classroom blocks were identified based on the findings of district-level school network mapping, and endorsed by ADB in September 2013. USE civil works was included in Batch 2. The Mission was updated that construction has now been 100% completed in all 15 USE Model sites (with the final site completed in September 2015), with all schools turned over and in use. Financial progress is at 90% (awaiting retention payments) at 14 sites, and 74% at 1 site (in Phontong district), due to delays in contractor claim submission. In follow-up to April 2015 mission discussions, the new USE classroom block at Chaleurnxay in Sanxay District of Attapeu (which is to be extended from an LSE school to a complete secondary school, with SESDP support) has been completed.

(1A3) As reflected in activity area 1A1 and 1A2, furniture has been incorporated into Batch 1 and Batch 2 civil works contracts. Furniture provision has been completed at 100% of intended sites.

(1B1) (1B2) In practice, some elements of the LSE baseline merged with the SNM exercise under activity area 3A2. Remaining interventions under activity area 1B1 have thus focused on: (i) LSE and USE stipend baseline study (merged with activity area 1B3), focused on identifying stipend recipients for the LSE portion of the SSSP under activity areas 1B2 and 1B4. The SESDP Team had proposed simultaneous conduct of the stipend baseline study to feed into both LSE and USE components of the SSSP given that the postponement of the LSE SSSP will align both programs' commencement in SY2013/14; and (ii) First (baseline) round of the annual student census, with subsequent rounds to be collected under activity area 3B2.

The LSE and USE Stipend Baseline Study was completed in mid-May 2014, with IEC as the lead implementing unit. It provided the basis for identifying stipend recipients (see activity areas 1B2 and 1B4). MOES Central Selection Committee deliberated on the process and reviewed the list of stipend recipients and identified 1,740 selected LSE stipend and 1,200 selected USE stipend beneficiaries, along with an additional 15% reserve, to allow for possible replacement of any dropouts occurring up through the first semester of SY2014/15.

For the baseline round of annual student census series, data collection for the 2012/13 round of the student census was completed for all districts by July 2013: due to delay, data was mostly provided by principals during summer holiday, though the SESDP Team confirmed that the census was able to collect data for each individual student grade 4-5 student enrolled at the end of SY2012/13, excepting for some columns of information, which were planned to be captured retroactively using the SY2013/14 round. The SY2013/14 round and other follow-on activities are covered in activity area 3D2.

Based on the PAM and design elements reflected above and in the GAP, Ethnic Group Plan (EGP), and other documents, the SESDP Team supported IEC in preparing (including via a series of consultation workshops) draft criteria and guidelines for the Secondary Student Stipend Program (SSSP). The merged guidelines (covering LSE and USE beneficiaries under activity areas 1B2 and 1B4) incorporates criteria and procedures for beneficiary selection, as well as auditing, etc., and ensures adherence to related requirements in the GAP and EGP and consistency with stipulations in the GA, LA, and PAM. Following MOES approval, ADB endorsed (via NOL dated 16 June 2014) a revised SSSP Guidelines and the release of stipend funds for the first semester of SY2014/2015: the initial list of 1,740 LSE stipend beneficiaries sent to ADB in the request for NOL included 938 females (53.9%) and 1,675 ethnic group students (96.3%).

(1B4) As noted under activity area 1B2 above, following ADB's June 2014 NOL to release SY2014/15 semester 1 stipend payments to students in the original LSE and USE beneficiary lists, payment was deferred to allow further review and revision of the list. The final (December 2014) list of 1,200 USE stipend beneficiaries includes 600 females (50.0%) and 1,068 ethnic group students (89.0%). USE stipends have been released at the same time as LSE stipends (see activity area 1B2).

During the MTR, IEC has advised that it had subsequently learned that 39 beneficiaries (22 boys and 17 girls) had dropped out/exited, and some schools had misunderstood the Guidelines and made replacements without reporting dropout and receiving authorization for replacement. The MTR agreed on remedial action, as well as the addition of girls from the original reserve list.

(1C1) (1C2) It was agreed to modify the original approach, and fund a more traditional albeit still relatively low-cost dorm structure, for inclusion in Batch 2 civil works (see activity area 1A1). Inputs from the SESDP Team and consultation workshops during November 2012-March 2013 supported DSE and IEC to develop guidelines for dormitory management (including the roles of school staff and the broader community), based on the PAM and design elements reflected above and in the GAP, EGP, etc. The finalized Dormitory Management Guidelines was endorsed by ADB in June 2014, and training on its use was included in the first BAC series in September-October 2014 (see activity area 3C1). By the start of SY2015/16, girls and boys dorms (along with separate toilet blocks) had been completed (as part of Batch 2 civil works) and utilized at all 60 LSE sites (and 15 USE sites).

Completion and periodic updating of the roster of current residents at all 60 LSE (and 15 USE) dorms remains a high priority. In follow-up to the April 2015 mission, the SESDP Team conducted a survey of dormitory residence, but did not receive data for boarders in all schools, thus numbers of dorm residents in the PMU's Q3 2015 progress report are believed to significantly understate actual utilization.

(1C3) (1C6) The SESDP Team supported DSE and the IEC to develop a joint 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 endorsement in July 2014. A related training/orientation was provided to participants of the September-October 2014 BAC rounds (see activity area 3C1).

All 60 participating LSE schools (and 14 of 15 USE schools) submitted first-round

SAGP-LSE proposals based on school improvement plans (SIPs), though timelines for proposal review and transfer of funds have varied by province. By the April 2015 mission, 27 schools all participating LSE and USE schools in the 5 provinces of Bokeo, Luang Namtha, Phongsaly, Saravan, and Sekong had received funds for their first-round SAGP-LSE or SAGP-USE proposals, while PESS (but not yet schools) had received DOF's transfer of SAGP funds for another 22 schools, with proposals for the remaining 26 LSE and USE schools at various stages of preparation and approval.

(1C6) Given revised timelines, work has been closely linked to that under activity area 1C3. The SESDP Team pursued a virtually identical design for USE access grants, and integrated both LSE and USE access grants into a singular SAGP Manual. Progress and follow-up is thus noted in activity area 1C3.

(1C4) As with LSE dorms, construction of girls and boys dorms (along with separate toilet blocks) has been completed at all 15 USE Model sites.

Output 2:

(2A1) Under the activity area's first thrust on new pre-service teacher training curriculum, within capacity building programs labeled in the PAM as P2A1(i) - P2A1(iii), a series of workshops and consultant inputs supported development of the new STEP curriculum, as well as orientation on and dissemination of the new STEP. Six STEP courses of study were implemented in 7 TTIs in SY2013/14, with further roll-out thereafter. For example, in SY2015/16, 11 mainstream TTIs and 2 monk colleges provided STEP programs for future Physics and Math teachers, 9 mainstream TTIs and 2 monk colleges provided STEP programs for English and Lao Literature teachers, and smaller numbers of TTIs provided STEP programs

training future LSE and USE teachers for other subjects. As another innovation, DTE has also continued to actively promote the development of online forums/communities of practice to support (for example) sharing of lesson plans and peer sharing using a dedicated site (, Facebook, etc.

The activity area's second thrust on support for QA and accreditation focuses at the level of specific pre-service teacher training courses within the STEP rather than accreditation of TTIs per se with the aim of ensuring standard equivalency across TEIs and FOEs. New accreditation procedures are now being finalized and will be carried out in early 2016 to determine which STEP courses of study will be offered by which TTIs starting from SY2016/17. DTE confirmed that TTIs not accredited to teach a given STEP course will not have new student intake in that course in SY2016/17, while currently enrolled students will be allowed to either (i) transfer to another TTI accredited to teach that course, or (ii) switch majors to an accredited STEP program of study in the same TTI.

(2A2) ADB endorsed the PMU's proposal to expand provision of science kits (based on the same model for USE schools) to a total of 14 TTIs including 2 monk colleges from which MOES recruits SES teachers in part to allow use in General Education courses, regardless of whether these TTIs currently have STEP pre-service teacher education programs in the specific science courses. The allocation of this science equipment across TTIs will be reassessed following MOES' completion and implementation of forthcoming quality assurance procedures to accredit TTIs to teach specific programs (see activity area 2A1). The NOL also endorsed the PMU's proposal to merge science kits for different science subjects and institutions into a single package (to be reflected in a revision to the procurement plan), thus merging procurement of science equipment under activity areas 2A2, 2D1, and 2D3 (focused on TTIs, LSE schools, and USE classroom blocks, respectively). Contracts have been awarded, with final delivery and installment expected in April 2016.

(2A3) Planning for the GTPS targeted deployment of 26 newly graduated LSE science teachers teaching either physics and math, or chemistry and biology 39 to 13 schools in the same 5 districts to be covered by activity 2B4. SESDP supported DOP development of procedures and guidelines, and ADB endorsed the (i) Sub-Guidelines on Selection, Recruitment and Deployment of Teachers to Rural Schools (6 June 2013 NOL); (ii) Sub-Guidelines on the Financial Management and M&E of the GTPS (4 February 2014 NOL).

A total of 26 GTPS Batch 1 teachers including 13 females (50%) and 16 from ethnic groups (61.5%) were initially deployed to schools in 5 targeted districts (the same ones covered by the DSPA pilot) during October-December 2013, with 16 placed in existing LSE schools in disadvantaged areas and 10 in SESDP-constructed new LSE schools. DOP subsequently identified a total of 39 GTPS Batch 2 teachers including 21 females (54%) and all from ethnic groups.

(2A4) As noted under Policy Area 2_1, SESDP has supported development of draft guidelines for both of the two thrusts:

(i) Under the first thrust on teacher recruitment and utilization planning, 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.

To support implementation, capacity building workshops covering both guidelines were conducted in May 2014. For ATRUP, DOP disseminated the guidelines and manual, including required data entry forms, to PESS, requesting that PESS to reproduce and distribute these to schools and coordinate with DESBs and schools to oversee and consolidate data from schools (per forms attached to the manual). However, many schools have not yet completed and submitted the ATRUP data entry forms, reflecting in part delays in printing (NOL'd by ADB on 6 May 2015) and distribution of printed copies of the ATRUP and TPME documents to schools as well as feedback from some schools that the Guidelines and Manual require clarification.

For the roll-out of the TPME, DOP had informed the April 2015 mission that principals frequently rate all teachers as excellent (highest rating). DOP and the SESDP Team thus conducted an additional workshop in August 2015 to revise the TPME monitoring tool to incorporate more objective evidence and allow validation of teacher performance scores, and has completed revising this tool (awaiting final approval, printing, and nationwide distribution).

(2B1) For the remaining grades of LSE, in August 2012, DSE, RIES, and DTE successfully implemented training of 6,291 M3 teachers of whom 2,917 (46%) were females and 997 (16%) were from ethnic groups as well as 494 provincial trainers (34% female). In August 2013, with SESDP Team support, DSE, RIES, and DTE oversaw the successful completion of the M4 training round, with 6,972 M4 teachers of whom 3,352 (48%) were females and 874 (12%) were from ethnic groups completing a 5-day training course, along with training of 494 provincial trainers (34% female). In terms of distinct teachers trained (distinguishing this from repeat-participation), the M3 and M4 rounds covered a total of 12,731 distinct teachers.

Supporting USE curriculum reforms and strengthened pedagogy, the SESDP Team supported DSE, RIES, and DTE in successful completion of the M5 training round in August early September 2014, training a total of 3,554 public school teachers of whom 1,685 (47%) were female and 316 (9%) were from ethnic groups as well as 327 provincial trainers (including 116 females). For the M6 training round, a July 2015 refresher course for mastertrainers on Understanding by Design (UbD) and learner-centered approach, with training of provincial trainers completed in Vientiane Province in early August 2015, alongside the on-time delivery of M6 textbooks, teacher guides, and training materials. Final-stage (provincially hosted) training was completed in August. The M6 round trained a total of 4,068 public school teachers of whom 2,360 (58%) were female and 476 (11.7%) were from ethnic groups. For M5-M6 training combined, teacher coverage totaled 7,621 person-times, 4,045 (53.1%) females and 792 (10.4%) from ethnic groups. This total includes 6,679 distinct USE teachers. The Mission reiterated that SESDP's support to date for the timely completion of nationwide M3-M6 training rounds represents an important and impressive accomplishment.

(2B2) To build up the in-house capacities of the RIES ETC and relevant units, the consultants conducted a capacity needs assessment, as well as a study on the feasibility of various options for strengthening in-house capacities to develop the kinds of ICT4LE materials envisaged (including, but not limited to those for activity area 2B4) and the roll-out of an initial pilot for materials development. This work was later revisited led by the Deputy Team Leader, following termination of the former Expert on Low-cost ICT Materials Development for Educators to better align with the SESDP's intended focus (as reflected above). Thereafter, SESDP supported capacity development along with procurement of equipment in August 2013 to upgrade RIES' capacity for producing good quality materials.

RIES has subsequently 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

The April 2015 mission agreed to focus efforts on a more concentrated and systematic approach to build up a portfolio of materials by subject strand (per the original design). It was agreed to initially prioritize 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. After such portfolios are expanded for science and subsequently other subjects, these are expected to be distributed via different channels, including mass-production of DVDs, TV, etc. However, the MTR was informed that limited progress has been made in implementing this focused approach. To support further progress, RIES and the SESDP Team proposed to conduct a contest, using ICT equipment contributed by one or more firms (as part of CSR efforts) to jump-start and more formally launch efforts to develop a portfolio of science materials. RIES staff would be allowed to compete in 1 category of the competition. RIES expects to conduct this contest by end of March 2016. The Mission agreed this could be a useful way to kick-start acceleration of progress, if this could be conducted in a timely manner and be channeled to effectively support the activity area's main thrust (supporting RIES' development of materials).

(2B3) SESDP's design envisaged include all SPAs (currently 22 per province, for a total of 374) in TOT rounds annually for M3 through M7. Due to time and human resource constraints (also reflected delayed consultant recruitment), the first round of the SPA annual conference could not be held alongside the M3 TOT in August 2012, although SPAs took part in the TOT, delivering final stage training, and post-training stock-taking discussions. RIES and the SESDP Team have also uploaded M3 curriculum materials to the internet, including SESDP's Facebook site, to facilitate access by SPAs (and others).

Subsequently, the first annual SPA conference was thus held on the last day of the TOT for the M4 training round, and included all 374 provincial SPAs. SESDP has also supported the launch of a new Facebook group ( ) to encourage networking, sharing of resources, etc. In 2014 and 2015, one-day SPA conferences were again held alongside the TOT, and focused on further supporting experience-sharing on challenges and effective approaches of introducing learner-centered approaches in the classroom.

(2B4) The SESDP Team supported DSE, DOP, DOI, and RIES in developing the approach to the pilot. Candidates for the 5 district SPAs (DSPAs) were screened and selected by early 2014. Subsequently, the SESDP Team conducted a training workshop for the 5 DSPAs and PESS and DESB representatives in February 2015, which also included turnover of the resource package procured under SESDP. The SESDP Team also prepared an initial draft guidelines for DSPA deployment under the pilot (submitted to ADB on 31 March 2015). April 2015 mission discussions reaffirmed the objective and focus of the pilot, which requires DSPAs to intensively support teachers in all schools offering SES grades in their districts on a roving basis, but identified the issue that DSPAs (selected by MOES from among local teachers) were still being required to teach in the schools in which they are based, limiting their ability to support teachers in other schools as intended in the pilot. It was thus agreed that (i) the PMU, DSE, and DOP should work together to ensure that DSPAs are released from teaching duties to serve in their roles as DSPA on a full-time basis from SY2015/16 through completion of the pilot test. MOES will issue a related memo or decree by 31 July 2015; (ii) while DSPAs may continue to operate from the schools where they are currently based, they will principally report to DESB; and (iii) DOP would ensure that the schools where the DSPAs currently teach will receive an offsetting allocation of teaching staff.

DOP and the PMU reported that, in practice, it had proved difficult to secure approvals to fully release DSPAs from teaching duties, in part because DSPAs will still be evaluated annually as teachers. A ministerial decree sent to the 5 districts in August 2015 thus noted the need to To reduce if not completely release the teaching time & to allow them to fulfill their task and responsibilities as dSPA & teaching time should not be more than six (6) hours per week . In practice, some DSPAs continue to be required to fulfill considerably heavier teaching duties in their base school, which continues to hinder their ability to participate in the pilot. In addition, the Mission suggested further revisions of the guidelines to more clearly target DSPAs as the principal intended audience, and to focus more clearly on DSPA's core role of providing pedagogical support to improve the everyday teaching of teachers in all SES schools in their districts (with DSPAs utilizing their ICT-based and other tools as part of this pedagogical support to teachers).

(2B5) It was initially foreseen that teacher upgrade grants (TUGs) would support attendance at a provincial center or TEI for 6 weeks each summer for three years. However, MOES subsequently discontinued those programs, though NUOL has continued to offer summer bachelor's programs. MOES decided that NUOL should host the TUG Program. The SESDP Team supported development of a TUG Program guidelines, DTE's and the NUOL-FOE's development of a TUG curriculum based on that for STEP, as well as selection of 30 TUG recipients from among science teachers with 11+3 qualifications from remote LSE schools in the 30 districts targeted under output 1. Consistent with the GAP and EGP, these 30 recipients include 17 females (57%) and 24 ethnic group teachers (80%). The TUG Program was commenced in mid-July 2014 with 30 selected TUG recipients completing the first summer in early September and expected to receive a bachelor degree by September 2016.

(2C1) The activity area has been completed (with follow-up support for USE grades under activity area 2C2). M3 curricular materials reached Vientiane in mid-December 2013, and LSE schools throughout Lao PDR during January-early March 2013 (in a small number of cases, delayed in part to errors in boxing of specific titles), following significant delays, which arose from several factors including further revisions and detected errors after the original deadline for final CRC copies.

(2C2) Following the review and revision of interim M5 textbooks (see activity area 2C3), a CACIM review workshop was completed during 11-13 September 2013 and approved the M5 materials, which were printed and distributed in time for the M5 training. For M6 materials, CRC versions were fully finalized and submitted to 2 printing companies selected via ICB, with contracts awarded in March 2015.

(2D1) (2D2)The international Expert on Instructional Materials Procurement was fielded starting in July 2013 and completed tasks related to (i) assessment of the status and priority needs for teaching materials and simple equipment in LSE and USE schools; (ii) assisting DSE to identify appropriate packages for provision to 60 schools to be equipped under SESDP (30 for LSE, and 30 for USE instruction); and (iii) assisting the PMU to prepare tendering documents and other aspects of procurement and distribution. Given the need to focus on more urgent aspects such as the policy actions, further preparations for procurement were deferred, though the November 2013 Mission noted some concern that new LSE schools would not have adequate materials and equipment upon opening. DSE and DOF confirmed, however, that all 12 schools had received limited allocations of M1-M4 textbooks and teacher guides, tapping government stocks. ADB endorsed printing and distribution of M1-M2 textbooks and teacher guides on 14 March 2014, and this was bid out, but the lowest bid amount (from State Printing House) was very high. April 2015 mission discussions agreed that the PMU would seek an additional round of updated quotations. However, the PMU subsequently suggested that it would be more efficient to procure M1-M2 textbooks and teacher guides as part of in the library materials package.

The Department of Physical Education, Music, and Arts prepared a list of required equipment, based on guidelines in the PAM, and the procurement consultant completed preparation of specifications. On 9 December 2015, the PMU submitted a revised proposal for procurement of LSE and USE kits (spanning activity area 2D2 and 2D3) for arts, music, and physical education. Contracts have been awarded, with final delivery and installment expected in April 2016.

(2E1) The SESDP Team has supported a review of current student assessment systems and the evolving roles of DSE, ESQAC, and RIES, and has supported DSE in coordination with ESQAC and RIES in drafting a strengthened Rules and Regulations on Secondary Student Assessment and Examinations (replacing an existing interim regulation on M4 and M7 exams), which incorporates classroom-based assessment (in addition to scores on the national exam) into a final composite assessment. The Rules and Regulations was finalized and approved on 27 May 2014, to be applied to M4 and M7 national exams at the end of SY2014/15.

Regarding the latter, the MTR was informed that the SY2014/15 national M4 and M7 exams were conducted in June 2015. Based on initial analysis of experiences in administering the new Rules and Regulations, DSE expects to request SESDP support for further revisions, including via an additional workshop(s).

(2E2) SESDP's design budgeted for workshops to develop the ASLO instruments, but the design assumed that the actual conduct would funded (periodically) by MOES. The November 2013 Mission was informed that MOES had not budgeted for the first round in 2014, so this was postponed to pursue MOES budgeting in 2015. However, MOES still has been unable to provide budget for conduct of the ASLO. On 9 May 2014, ADB endorsed MOES request for SESDP funding to include development and implementation of the M4 ASLO at the end of SY2014/15. With SESDP Team support, RIES developed the examination instrument for the M4 ASLO and conducted a workshop on research design (including sampling to select 100 participating schools) in November 2014. Other key preparatory steps have included: (i) a trial test in 6 schools was completed on 9-13 February 2015; (ii) workshops for trial data entry, analysis, and tool revision were completed on 16-24 February 2015; (iii) training of enumerators was conducted on 24 April 2015. The MTR was informed that the M4 ASLO had been conducted in May 2015 and (pending ongoing data analysis) is expected to yield credible results that will be useful to pinpoint successes and remaining challenges in terms of LSE learning under the new curriculum.

For the M7 ASLO, expected to be conducted at the end of SY2016/17, the April 2015 mission had discussed the need for RIES to work DOF to ensure that MOES budgeting is in place for the conduct of the M7 ASLO. The MTR was informed that it had proven difficult to include this in the FY2016/17 budget, and the SESDP has indicatively earmarked SESDP funds for this, pending ADB review.

Output 3:

(3A1) With support from the SESDP Team, DOP and DOP organized a 26-29 November 2015 workshop to review the draft IAR report and validate and elaborate on IAR findings.

(3A2) The SESDP Team, in close coordination and cooperation with inputs from the World Bank-supported FTI project, has assisted MOES in developing the noted school network mapping (SNM) methodology, which will cover supply and demand aspects for both primary and secondary education. Among others, the SESDP Team has assisted SITCES to develop the SNM approach using Quantum Geographic Information System (GIS) software and provided capacity development on its use. Initial district-level maps in the 30 SESDP target districts were used to inform selection of sites for the 15 USE classroom blocks, and also fed into other processes (e.g., LSE and USE baseline work under sub-output 1B). A pilot-testing was conducted in Savannakhet (conducted in cooperation with and funded by FTI), and a workshop will be conducted by 4 June 2013 to train PESS staff to use Quantum GIS for SNM, and to support their ability to train DESB staff in tasks such as data collection, map validation, etc. A series of roll-out workshops were then conducted in clusters of provinces during June-August 2013, followed by a final consolidation workshop during 17-21 September. The SNM and related report were subsequently completed, supporting achievement of policy action T1.(iii).2.

Following the formation of a new province (Xaysomboun), SESDP has supported Education Statistics Center (including via a February 2015 workshop) to update the SNM to add Xaysomboun as well as 2 new districts in Huaphan. Importantly, MOES has shared SNM maps with other DPOs (to date, JICA and the US Embassy) and encouraged its use in new project formulation. The PMU also confirmed that PESS use SNM to inform planning decisions.

(3A3) The MTR discussed the continued fracturing of various MIS related to the education sector, with database interoperability issues posing an obstacle to systematic support for MIS.

(3B1) Per the DMF, activity area 3B1's first thrust (central to district level SES subsector management capacities) targets at least 1,055 central to district officials via per the DMF target). Per the PAM, this support is indicatively envisaged to be structured as capacity building programs P3B1(i)-P3B1(vii) as listed in PAM Appendix 7, and the IAR expected to inform detailed planning for such support. With the IAR nearing completion, the SESDP Team, DSE, DOP, and other units are now assessing concrete priorities and plans.

(3B2) The SESDP Team assisted relevant MOES institutions in drafting the communication strategy, including through a series of multi-stakeholder workshops and meetings. This Strategy was approved via ministerial decree dated 31 December 2013, linked to policy action T1.(iii).3, along with a soft launch of initial activities. A more formal public launch of the Strategy was held on 2 April 2015. As part of Strategy implementation, MOES has formally appointed communication focal points in all MOES line departments, and provinces have submitted communication action plans to implement the Strategy, while the MOES Cabinet is in the process of providing training to all departments on managing communication channels (e.g., news media, websites, etc.).

(3B3) A series of focus group meetings and 1 workshop have been completed, and have supported drafting of a new Prime Ministerial Decree on Promotion of Private Educational Institutions and broader dialogue with private sector stakeholders. As noted under Policy Area 3_2, the draft has been revised and resubmitted to MOJ incorporating comments from MOJ and MOF, with approval expected by resubmitted the revised draft to MOJ, and expects the Decree to be reviewed by the PMO in January 2016. This would complete support under the activity area.

(3B4) As noted under policy action T1.(iii).4, the SESDP Team has supported DSE in drafting the Policy, including through a series of workshops. The Policy was approved on 31 December 2013. Consultant support for preparing the related Strategy (required for policy action T2.(iii).5) is ongoing.

(3C1) During the October and May 2013 missions, it was agreed to link support envisaged under this activity area to SBM, while noting the need for further discussion on concrete suggestions and implications, including related to consistency with the GAP, EGP, and particularly the provisions in the GA. The SESDP Team has developed an SBM Handbook. Other support to date has focused preparation and implementation of BACs, covering principals, 1 PPA member, and 1 VEDC member from 100 SES schools, plus 2 DESB representatives. The first series of BAC was held for northern provinces (15-20 September 2014), central provinces (13-18 October 2014), and southern provinces (20-25 October 2014). The next BAC series is currently planned for indicatively March 2016.

(3D1) The MTR reviewed progress under activity area 3D1, which covers development and continuous implementation of a comprehensive M&E framework and planning.

(3D2) Following completion of the baseline LSE student census round (see activity area 1B1) at the end of SY2012/13, the SESDP Team supported DSE's conduct of the first and second post-baseline census rounds in May 2014 and May 2015 (at the end of SY2013/14 and SY2014/15). The SESDP Team has substantively completed consolidation of these 3 years of data in the census database, with some data cleaning remaining: e.g., the Mission clarified that it was expected that some students (e.g., in-migrants) would appear in later data collection rounds, and no attempt should be made to fill in guesses for their prior grade.

(3E) SESDP benefits greatly from a high degree of continuity with BESDP, which allowed the PMU to commence functioning effectively almost immediately after its formal establishment in 2011. In addition to completed procurements (e.g., project vehicles, minor office equipment, motorcycles for 30 DESBs to support their SESDP monitoring and other implementation roles), the project also supports repair and maintenance of 4 project vehicles, including insurance coverage until 2017, as well as other allowable expenditures included in the Project budget. The SESDP Team has finalized design of emblems and stickers to identify schools supported under output 1, SESDP vehicles, etc., to enhance visibility, and is

now distributing these.

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 Staff

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 31 Mar 2016

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 23.87 0.00 80%
Counterpart 2.36 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Sep 2011 25.50 0.00 85%

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 52%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 20 Sep 2011 4.87 0.00 52%

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.