Lao People's Democratic Republic: Strengthening Higher Education Project

Sovereign Project | 42134-022 Status: Active


ADB is helping the Lao People's Democratic Republic expand and improve its higher education system. The project will focus mainly on upgrading standards at the country’s three public universities: National University of Laos, Champasak University, and Souphanouvong University. It will also improve access to higher education for disadvantaged groups, particularly for women and ethnic minorities.

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Procurement Documents

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Project Name Strengthening Higher Education Project
Project Number 42134-022
Country Lao People's Democratic Republic
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0166-LAO: Strengthening Higher Education Project
Concessional ordinary capital resources / Asian Development Fund US$ 24.80 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Education - Tertiary

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Impact Improved economic competitiveness and increased employment opportunities for higher education graduates

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome An expanded, improved, and equitable higher education system
Progress Toward Outcome

As of 30 August 2015, the overall implementation progress was estimated around 87% versus an elapsed grant implementation period of 89%. Cumulative contract awards were $22.49 million (90%) and cumulative disbursement was $21.57 million (87%) of the total grant amount of $24.8 million.

- The firm to design and format the development of core textbooks for 12 subjects, and 14 writers' team leaders; 14 secretaries and 42 textbook writers have been mobilized in December 2014 and are on progress to develop core textbooks.

- Recruitment of a firm to develop a Lao University Management System (LUMS) has been mobilized.

- Installation of IT, Internet and laboratory equipment completed.

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Strengthened management, financing, and governance of higher education system

Enhanced relevance and capacity for quality improvement

Increased equity and access in higher education

Effective project management and implementation

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Output 1: Strengthened management, financing, and governance of higher education system

(i) LUMS including registration, tuition fee payment, and financial management has been designed. Adopting open source software to the local context is in process. A consulting firm recruitment is board.

(ii) The reform of admission system to reduce the percentage of non-fee paying (20%) and fee paying (80%) students started in 2011/2012. For 2013/2014, the non-fee paying students are 41% and non-fee paying students 59%. MOES and Universities introduced tuition fee in 2011/2012, the tuition fee is between kip 800,000 to 1,200,000 kip. The 2014/2015 enrollment ratio will be updated during the Sept 2015.

(iii) Enrollment in the four public universities:

2011/2012 non-fee paying students at 21%, fee paying students at 79%

2012-2013- non-fee paying student at 28%, fee paying students 72%

2013-2014 non-fee paying students at 41%, fee paying students at 59%

734 senior and technical staff from Department of higher education and three public universities attended management (including strategic planning, strategic leadership, quality assurance) and technical trainings (curriculum development, research planning and design, IT training and financial management), of which 199 are women.

(iv) University councils for Champasack and Souphanouvong Universities are officially established in May 2014.

- CU council includes 23 members, of which 10 are women (44%), and 5 from private sector (22%).

- SU council includes 24 members, of which 6 are women (22%) and 3 from private sectors (13%).

Output 2: Enhanced relevance and capacity for quality improvement.

(i) Tracer study was conducted in late 2013 to collect benchmark information on recent graduates with diploma and bachelor degrees and monitor their performance in the labor market.

Employer survey conducted in Feb 2013, the findings revealed that 50% of the employers are satisfied with their employees' skills and knowledge, while the other are dissatisfied with their employees non-cognitive skills. The findings and recommendations have been incorporated into the curriculum.

(ii) Revision of courses, curriculum and teaching materials: The Project assisted the universities to revise undergraduate curriculum content by introducing inter-disciplinary common-core courses to align with the development and changes in regional development and labor market demands. The project conducted several training on curriculum development to 441 teaching staff and 12 common-core courses were identified to be included in the revised curriculum. The development of core textbooks is now progressing after mobilizing textbook writers and a design/editing firm in December 2014.

(iii) Development of qualification framework for higher education has been discussed; the project is recruiting a university professor to assist the DHE to develop it.

DHE and QACE developed the national minimum standards including then standards and 50 criteria for external institution assessment and conducted assessment of 53 private higher education institutes.

(iv) 753 teaching staff from three public universities were trained on research proposal preparation and how to conduct research. 17 out of 60 proposals were selected for conducting research.

46 teaching staff (15 are women) undertake master and doctoral degrees in abroad under matching scholarship with foreign partner universities. 97 teaching staff undertakes master degrees at National University of Laos, of which 38 are women.

(v) E-learning library at the three public universities are established, the facilities are opened for student access during the working hours. Laboratory equipment was installed at the Champasack university, training on the use of the equipment was provided.

Output 3: Increased equity and access in higher education

(i) Increase equity and access in higher education:

Campus and facilities (including classrooms, e-library, laboratory, e-learning center, student dormitories, road, water and electricity connection) at Champasack University were developed. Additional small civil works for students' motorbikes parking lot, sanitation improvement and kitchens in CU in being constructed.

(ii) Student intakes at four public universities has declined gradually declined due to (i) abolishment of special course, (ii) introduction of enrollment ceiling to control the quality and admission requirement.

(iii) Student enrollment at CU:

2011/12 Total enrollment was 3,525, 1,377 students were women

2012/13 - Total enrollment was 3,322, of which 1,311 were women

2013-14- Total enrollment is 637 and 401 women.

The number of enrollment has been declined as a result of termination of special course and imposed of strict entry exams.

(iv) All civil works at Champasack University, including academic offices, dormitories and classrooms, completed and being utilized the academic staff and students.

Output 4: Strengthened management, financing, and governance of higher education system

(i) Project implementation is proceeding smoothly. The project implementation teams are actively performing their assignments.

(ii) DHE collaborated with a Korean company, My Personal Data Analysis (MPDA), introducing an adaptive mathematical learning system through the Project to help 1,000 teaching staff and first year students to develop their logical thinking and problem solving capabilities in mathematics. This was funded as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) with co-finance from KOICA to provide 100 computers, software and installation of the network which is equivalent of US$0.9 million. In practice, 782 first year students from 4 faculties and 10 faculty professors in NUOL were trained and tested to use the Mathcloud software program to supplement in improving their mathematic competencies and logical thinking. Evaluation of the learning outcome using quasi-experimentation was completed, the findings show that the students who uses the software performed better.

Geographical Location National University of Laos (Vientiane),Souphanouvong University (Luang Prabang),Champasak University (Pakse)

Safeguard Categories

Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples B

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects The Project has been classified as Category B (non-sensitive). An initial environmental examination for the Project was carried out and showed no significant adverse environmental impact.
Involuntary Resettlement No involuntary resettlement involved at NUOL and Souphanouvong University. Development of the CU campus and facilities takes place within CU's existing site of 66 hectares in which there are no households to be relocated and no households using agricultural land.
Indigenous Peoples The Project will most likely have positive impacts on equitable access to tertiary education by ethnic groups, especially ethnic females. This will be achieved by more effectively targeting ethnic students; and increasing opportunities for ethnic groups to work as faculty members and university staff.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

The design of the Project has resulted from extensive discussion with stakeholders through various workshops. Higher Education Master Plan 2010-2020 is participatory developed. Numerous discussions have been held at central and provincial levels with officers, university presidents and administrators, instructors, students and parents, to assist to identify needs and possible solutions. Tracer study of graduates and employer survey were conducted better understand the employers' expectation and labor market demand,

Multiple meetings with development partners have been held to ensure consensus around key issues and future actions.

During Project Implementation The Project will be implemented with close consultations with the central and local stakeholders. Universities are the principal owner and beneficiaries of the Project and will be fully involved in decisions related to the project implementation. The participation of other local stakeholders including the provincial governments, private sector and local industries, communities, and households in the project activities is essential for effective implementation of the Project. Department of Higher Education with the Project team share and consult with the key development partners and 4 public universities relating higher education strategy, policies, and assessment .

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services The Project is supported by consultant services mobilized via three modalities. First, the Project has engaged a firm to provide 185 person-months of consulting services (73 person-months international and 112 person-months national), which has been selected using the full technical proposal and quality- and cost-based selection method, in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2007, as amended from time to time). The quality- and cost-based selection weighting followed the standard quality-cost ratio of 80:20. This package of consulting services provides technical support for the Project as well as build longer-term local capacities for planning, management, research, and delivery of higher education. Consulting services will span a broad array of expertise, including (i) strategic planning, project management, and monitoring; (ii) governance and management of higher education; (iii) higher education financing; (iv) higher education quality assurance; (v) curriculum and textbook development; (vi) human resources and professional development; (vii) research capacity building; (viii)information and communications technology (ICT)-based teaching and learning; (ix) higher education MIS development; (x) campus and facilities development, and equipment improvement; (xi) gender and social development; (xii) environment; (xiii) procurement; and (xiv) project financial management. In addition to the firm that augments consulting services in specific and needs-tailored areas, international scholars and/or professionals (a total of 70 person-months) will be invited as short-term consultants on an individual basis to assist participating universities in developing academic and research programs and in teaching support. The Project has also locally recruited administrative assistants and accountants on an individual basis as needed to help the PIUs with project administration, accounting, and other tasks including reporting.
Procurement All procurement to be financed under the ADB grant will be carried out in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines (2007, as amended from time to time). The Department of Higher Education project implementation unit (D-PIU) will be responsible for all procurement, except for civil works, equipment, furniture, and vehicles at Champasak University (CU), which will be done by the CU project implementation unit (PIU), in close consultation with the D-PIU. Procurement of goods such as computers and laboratory equipment will use international competitive bidding procedures if more than $1.0 million; national competitive bidding if $1 million or less, but more than $100,000 equivalent; or shopping if less than $100,000 equivalent. Civil works will use international competitive bidding if more than $2.0 million; and national competitive bidding if less than $2 million, but more than $100,000.

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer Chanthy, Khamtanh
Responsible ADB Department Southeast Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Lao Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education and Sports
Dr. Phonephet Boupha
[email protected]
Avenue Lane Xang, Vientiane, Lao PDR


Concept Clearance 11 Jun 2009
Fact Finding 11 Jun 2009 to 19 Jun 2009
MRM 20 Jul 2009
Approval 05 Oct 2009
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 24 Jun 2009
Last PDS Update 30 Sep 2015

Grant 0166-LAO

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
05 Oct 2009 23 Oct 2009 17 Dec 2009 30 Jun 2016 31 Dec 2016 -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 28.80 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 24.80 05 Oct 2009 24.55 0.00 99%
Counterpart 4.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 05 Oct 2009 24.23 0.00 98%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - - - Satisfactory - Satisfactory
Title Document Type Document Date
Strengthening Higher Education Project Procurement Plans Sep 2013
Strengthening Higher Education Project Project/Program Administration Manual Dec 2009
Grant Agreement for Strengthening Higher Education Project between Lao People's Democratic Republic and Asian Development Bank dated 23 October 2009 Grant Agreement Oct 2009
Strengthening Higher Education Project Reports and Recommendations of the President Sep 2009
Strengthening Higher Education Project Design and Monitoring Frameworks Jul 2009

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
Strengthening Higher Education Project Resettlement Plans Jul 2009

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

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