Regional : Creation of the Pacific Information Superhighway with the University of the South Pacific Network

Sovereign Project | 42291-012

The purpose of the TA is to develop the human resource capacity needed for regional economic growth through enhancing ICT-based education.

Project Details

Project Name Creation of the Pacific Information Superhighway with the University of the South Pacific Network
Project Number 42291-012
Country / Economy Regional
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 7282-REG: Creation of the Pacific Information Superhighway with the University of the South Pacific Network
Government of India US$ 1.00 million
Strategic Agendas Regional integration
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Education / Education sector development

Gender Gender equity theme
Description The purpose of the TA is to develop the human resource capacity needed for regional economic growth through enhancing ICT-based education.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

ADB's Pacific Strategy 2005-2009, which covers 14 Pacific developing member countries (PDMCs), identified education and human resource development as an important element of socio-economic growth in the Pacific. Following this strategy, ADB has provided technical assistance (TA) and investment funding in PDMCs to support the Pacific e-learning network with the University of the South Pacific (USP), Samoa's school-net and distance learning program, and Papua New Guinea's technical vocational education and training (TVET) program.

Many emerging countries, including parts of Asia and the Pacific, have begun to benefit significantly from improved information, communication and technology (ICT) infrastructure and services. The island nations of the Pacific have witnessed an increased demand in ICT-based distance education in recent years, but many PDMCs have limited access to the services due to poor infrastructure and telecommunication services, lack of adequate human resources, and well-crafted education materials and contents.

Out of a limited number of higher educational institutions available in the Pacific region, the USP serves as the only regional university to nurture and provide necessary human resources. USP has a student body of over 22,000 in their 14 campuses across the Pacific region. Up to 50% of the students study off-campus through distance and flexible learning (DFL) programs. Students are spread over 14 satellite campuses of USP with at least one campus in each island nation. To deliver education and training to the region, the USP uses various modes of delivery, supported by a variety of technologies, but the majority of students continue their distance education via postal services. The Government of Japan has recently provided a grant aid of US$19 million to build a four-storey ICT center which aims to connect 13 USP satellite campuses. The construction started in October 2008 and the launch of the facility is planned for late 2009. Meanwhile, USP and the Government of Japan have not yet developed concrete plans/curriculum to fully utilize the infrastructure. Furthermore, the rest of the 13 satellite campuses are only equipped with basic infrastructure to connect with the Suva campus. This PPTA aims to support selected satellite campuses to complete a feasibility assessment and preparation for future projects. The education sector is one of the five core priority areas in Strategy 2020. In the Pacific region, ICT-based education, along with the development of a supporting education policy, is the medium term strategic focus of the Pacific Strategy 2005-2009

In February 2009, the Government of India (GOI) offered to provide support of US$1 million to this TA. This is the first support of its kind to ADB by GOI and this is being offered in the spirit of South-South cooperation. The support seeks to leverage India?s extensive experience and technical expertise in ICT to help improve economic growth and quality of life in the Pacific region. In March 2009, ADB and USP jointly introduced the project to the PDMCs during the Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting in Tonga. Fourteen PDMC Ministers subsequently adopted a joint-communique to welcome the TA project. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which encompasses the scope of works and objectives, was signed by the Pacific Department (PARD), GOI, and USP on 15 April 2009 in ADB Headquarters in Manila.


Improved human resources capacities through distance and flexible learning (DFL) of the USP in PDMCs.

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome

Approved investment project.

Progress Toward Outcome


(i) Expansion of Bandwith. USP has concluded that prior to expanding the bandwidth, various options to improve efficiency and better utilization of the existing capacity will be investigated. This area is being covered by USP's internal studies and relevant assessment/valuation funded by JICA grant. In any case, subsequent bandwidth expansion (as and when required) will involve with recurrent cost and can therefore not be funded thorugh this RETA or ensuing project loan. One of the identified needs is to covert the system to I-Direct. This will result in improved speed for ICT education as well as establish a better platform for the entire USPNet, subject to final technical confirmation. The conversion and related equipment is expected to cost up to $400,000. The Vice-Chancellor requested that the amount be funded from the RETA. The Mission indicated that in principle, this could be done as this has been considered as one of possible components in the tripartite agreement signed in April 2009. ADB will await final decision by USP on the acquisition of I-Direct. JICA supports ADB funding for this component.

However, at the recipients end, namely 12 regional campuses, there are significant requirement for improvement of infrastructure, ICT equipment and network/system upgrade and replacement USP has indicated that such improvement is required in Solomon Islands and possibly in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) where the regional campus caters to a large number of students who are widely dispersed.

(ii) Access to Higher Education. USP has indicated that one of its goals is to bring access to higher education through ICT beyond capacity of each of its member governments. This would involve the capital expenditure and ICT infrastructure and connectivity in the remote outer islands to further promote the outreach programs.

(iii) ICT Curriculum Development and Conversion to e-Learning Materials. USP has indicated that contents upgrade and development constitute an integral part of the DFL development and require external support. While considerable work is ongoing in this area for basic level courses, there is need to develop curriculum for higher courses (200/300 level courses) and in certain subjects as well as for e-based Master of Business Administration (MBA) and new degree programs. JICA is actively assisting in this area through technical cooperation.

(iv) USP's Academic Partnerships. Vice-Chancellor emphasized the importance of the partnership with education institutions in India, Japan, and China. Presently, there is minimal linkage with any institution in India. While such partnership should eventually be advantageous to both parties, it is possible that during the initial years, USP may be the primary beneficiary of such joint programs. With India, VP prefers institutions such as Indian Institute of Technology for engineering, Indian Institute of Management for management, Nehru School and other reputable institutions in the field of econoics.

(v) USP's Main Campus Needs. The master plan for the main campus is being updated and is likely to propose some additional facilities for new programs, conferences, student housing, and other academic requirements. The Mission has been informed that the JICA funding for both buildings of the ICT center are available and the first building will be completed in 2010 and the second in late 2011. USP will advise ADB on specific requirements that they would like ADB to fund once the master plan is completed.

VC mentioned the need for conference halls and possibly USP's Convention center with lodging facility for promoting USP's leading role as the knowledge center in the Pacific and as the center for excellence. Such a project would need to be carefully evaluated for financial viability. For such campus improvement project, VC would like to seek ADB's concessional loan. He felt that USP's unencumbered asset will qualify USP for such a loan

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. Three feasibility studies completed;

2. Distance and flexible learning (DFL) contents and and training upgraded; and

3. Academic partnership with other academic institutions established.

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Regional
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

-University of the South Pacific

-Government of India (Donor)

-Government of Japan (Implementation Partner)

-Government of Australia (Implementation Partner)

-Government of New Zealand (Implementation Partner)

-Pacific Islands Country Forum Secretariat (Consultation)

-University of West Indies (Consultation)

-Johns Hopkins University (Consultation)

-London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (Consultation)

-University of Papua New Guinea (Consultation)

During Project Implementation All activities under the PPTA completed. TA account for closing.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

The ICT Education Consultant (Lead Consultant) had been recruited and services have been completed.

The services of the Higher Education Specialist is ongoing until August 2011.

Recruitment of Economic & Financial Analysis Consultant is underway.

Responsible ADB Officer Lee, Sunhwa
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division Urban, Social Development & Public Management Division, PARD
Executing Agencies
University of the South Pacific (USP)
Concept Clearance 16 Dec 2008
Fact Finding 17 Jul 2008 to 22 Jul 2008
Approval 12 May 2009
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 22 Aug 2008
Last PDS Update 01 Oct 2013

TA 7282-REG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
12 May 2009 - 12 May 2009 30 Sep 2010 31 Aug 2013 31 Oct 2013
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
0.00 1,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 50,000.00 1,050,000.00 17 Jun 2022 809,435.24

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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

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Related Publications

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Contracts Awarded

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Procurement Plan

None currently available.