fbpx 43007-023: Higher Education Reform Project | Asian Development Bank

Mongolia: Higher Education Reform Project

Sovereign (Public) Project | 43007-023 Status: Active

ADB is helping Mongolia improve the quality of its higher education system and increase enrollment by youth from poor, remote communities. The project will enhance the quality and relevance of higher education programs and address issues such as governance and management, financing, and access. It will fund research facilities and staff training, and support public-private partnerships.

Project Details

Project Officer
Lonjid, Itgel East Asia Department Request for information
  • Mongolia
  • Education
Project Name Higher Education Reform Project
Project Number 43007-023
Country Mongolia
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 2766-MON: Higher Education Reform Project
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 20.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Education / Tertiary

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description The project will institute needed reforms in higher education (HE) to improve the quality and relevance of HE programs; governance, management, and financing of HE institutions (HEIs) and the entire subsector; and promote equitable access to HE. Project interventions include institutional capacity building, human resources development, provision of learning and research facilities, equipment and materials, consultant services, minor civil works, support for public-private partnerships (PPP), and improvement of the HE policy environment.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy Rapid economic expansion has led to increased demand and supply for HE in Mongolia. The government has emphasized the value of HE as a principal investment option for the country's long-term economic competitiveness. Gross enrollment ratio for HE rose from 27% in 2000 to 47% in 2007, buttressed by the entry of private institutions offering HE in the 1990s. Over 100 HEIs are now in operation but only around 40% of graduates are employed. Persistent rural-urban inequalities also undermine Mongolia's competitiveness in HE. Poverty serves to destabilize children's school performance in rural areas and even if poor households manage to send their children to HEIs in urban areas, there is no guarantee of employability after the graduation. The government's vision is of an effective HE system that can help accelerate sustainable economic development, improve people's livelihood, ensure social equality, and reduce poverty. However, the system is currently constrained by (i) low quality and relevance, (ii) weak governance and management, (iii) inadequate financing, and (iv) limited opportunities in the HE subsector particularly for the poor and those in rural areas.
Impact The project impact will be an increased number of Mongolia's globally competitive higher education graduates responsive to labor market demands.
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome The outcome will be an improved, well-managed, and equitable higher education system. The project primarily involves capacity building of the entire subsector to improve its performance.
Progress Toward Outcome By Q2 2020, in total 2,030 (1,835/68.2% are female) teachers were trained at distance education centers (DEC), established under the project. The second phase of the Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) completed in June 2020 and accepted by the Ministry of Education and Science in September 2020. The posters and videos on gender issues in higher education were produced and disseminated to the public.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Quality and relevance of higher education programs improved

Effectiveness of HEIs' management and financing improved

Access to higher education improved

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

HEMIS was developed in 2017-2019. The HEMIS team organized 3 training in 2018-2019 for 286 (188 or 65.73% are female) system end users, including for academic affairs specialists of HEIs, staff from MECSS and HE agencies. The MECSS decided to implement the second phase of the HEMIS. 12 consultants were signed with MECSS contracts on 6 September 2019 to provide 9.8 months service. In the second phase data collection, analysis, reporting, data warehouse are carried out together with maintenance and administration.

Five distance education centers (DEC) have been established at Arkhangai branch school of MSUE, Khovd University, Dornod University, Zavkhan branch school of NUM and all necessary furniture and equipment were supplied. Tele-conferencing equipment was supplied to 5 HEIs. Online course equipment to distance learning center at the MNUE was supplied and installed. Two individual consultants to assist in a development of e-Learning Platform, and implementation of e-Learning at the distance education centers were engaged by the MECSS on 15 December 2017 for 6 months and completed their service. A distance education support consultant, responsible for overall coordination of the planned training at five DEC was hired on 28 January 2019 for 12 person-months and completed his service on 8 April 2020.

A total number of board members of public HEIs was 185 (37/20% were female) in 2009 and 196 (71/36.22%) in 2019 respectively. The number of female board members increased by 16.22% from 2009 to 2019. A total number of managers in public HEIs including directors, vice directors, branch school directors, branch school vice directors, academic affairs directors, department heads was 764 (304/39.79%) in 2009 and 563 (263/46.71%) in 2019, respectively. Overall, the number of female board members and managers of public HEIs increased by 7.99% between 2009 and 2019.

Two year twinning program signed between the Accreditation Agency for Degree Programs in Engineering, Information, the Natural Sciences and Mathematics of Federal Republic of Germany (ASIIN) and the National Council for Education Accreditation of Mongolia (MNCEA) on 26 June 2016 was completed on 31 July 2018. A total of 15 deliverable specified in the agreement have been delivered and the final report was received by MECSS in October 2018. The final report dissemination workshop was held on 26 June 2018. A new set of criteria and procedures for institutional, program and initial accreditation developed under the twinning program was approved by the Governing Board of MNCEA on 26 June 2018. A Charter of Education Accreditation Body was revised and approved by the Government resolution of 5 September 2018. A strategic development of MNCEA that included revision of MNCEA Charter, Board and Structural Units procedures, current organizational set-up and strategic plan was implemented. MNCEA's Management Information System was developed by an IT team of MUST. In addition, an integrated file archiving, finance software and enterprise resource planning system for MNCEA was purchased. APQR Council decision to accept Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation onto the Asia-Pacific Quality Register (APQR) with validity period for five years till July 2024 was received in July 2019.

In 2018, 20 programs have been nationally accredited in the priority disciplines, such as natural sciences, engineering and technology, and agriculture. A total of 17 programs have been accredited internationally in 2016-2020: (1) General medicine, MNUMS (2017); (2) Geodesy, MUST (2017); (3) Software Engineering, NUM (2017); (4) Information Technology NUM (2017); (5) Telecommunications Engineering Technology, MUST (2018); (6) Wireless Communications Engineering Technology, MUST (2018); (7) Mechanical Engineering, MULS (2018); (8) Teacher, Mathematics, MNUE (2018); (9) Teacher, Information Technology, MNUE; (10) Chemistry, NUM (2018); (11) Teacher, Physics, MNUE (2019); (12) Teacher, Chemistry, MNUE (2019); (13) Teacher, Biology, MNUE (2019); and (14) Teacher, Geography, MNUE (2019); (15) bachelor s degree Textile Industry Technology, MUST (2020); (16) master s degree Textile Industry Technology, MUST (2020) and (17) master s degree Textile Industry Chemistry and Technology, MUST (2020).

The first phase basic CDIO program was completed on 31 January 2018. The following activites have been done under the basic CDIO program: (i) Renovation work of 8 CDIO workshop rooms were completed in May 2017; (ii) three priority discipline of engineering and technology programs of MUST namely Industrial automation program, Textile technology program, Telecommunication program were revised in accordance with the CDIO standards in 2018 and fully applied the CDIO standards; (iii) 24 master trainers were prepared through series of internal and external trainings; (iv) a guideline for lecturers, administrative staff on implementation of CDIO in HEIs was developed in August 2017; and (vi) a set of 6 training manuals were printed and distributed to HEIs; and (v) Equipment and furniture were supplied to the 8 CDIO workshops. In the first stage, a total of 160 faculty members of MUST, NUM, MULS became direct beneficiaries of joint training seminars organized in cooperation with Singapore Polytechnic, and approximately 2,000 teachers of 96 public and private HEIs were trained on CDIO standards and methodologies. 120 (68 or 56.6% are female) faculty members, consultants and MECSS officials participated in 12 overseas CDIO events, including regional meetings.

The second stage of CDIO initiative _Advancing CDIO_ was implemented between April 2018 and April 2019. 6 participating universities were MUST, NUM, MULS, MNUE, MNUAC and MNDU. A series of training, comprised of 5 training components were conducted by 30 October 2018. In total 260 (149 or 57.31% are female) educators and administrators has been successfully trained. 7 programs of MUST, NULS, MNUE, MNUAC, MNDU, where CDIO advanced approach were implemented, were assessed by a working group of MECSS and the Temasek Foundation in 2019. A working group to develop digital learning contents in CDIO approaches was established and completed its activities in 2019. Furniture and equipment were supplied to 6 universities in 2019 and 2020.

In total 286 (183 or 63.9% were female) administrators, managers, and faculty members attended seven trainings organized by a Consulting Service for Higher Education Reform (CSHER) on governance (2), financing (3), and management (2) of higher education. In total 142 (89 or 62.6% was female) administrators, managers and faculty members from the MECSS and HEIs participated in five study tours and nine overseas training in topics related to higher education governance, management and financing. 330 (189/57.2%) senior management staff including presidents of public and private HEIs participated in 4 training on governance and leadership. A consultation meeting on HE governance was organized with collaboration with the parliament with 100 (44% female) participants. Massive open online course on _Higher Education Management_ was developed and commenced from June 2020. At the end of the development of MOOC, training to 143 participants (57/40% are female) was carried out on 25-30 June 2020. The CSHER consultants piloted a corporate governance model at two public and two private universities, including NUM, MNUMS, Ider and Otgontenger universities in 2016. The Higher Education Law was amended to provide public HEIs autonomous status in April 2016; however, the provision was reverted in January 2017. The good practices including composition and selection procedure of board members remained at HEIs.

Office furniture were supplied to 7 rural HEIs in 2014. Minor renovation was completed at 8 HEIs in 2013-2014. Laboratory equipment was supplied to 2 public HEIs in 2015. Laboratory facilities and equipment was supplied to 4 HEIs in 2016-2017. Additional laboratory tools were supplied in 2018. Six software application were supplied to 2 HEIs. Laboratory equipment and tools are supplied to four rural HEIs (Petroleum Research Laboratory of Dornod University, Research Laboratory of Technology School of MUST in Darkhan Uul aimag, Molecular Biology and Immunology Laboratory of Govi-Altai MNUMS and Agro Field Training Laboratory of Agro Ecological and Business School of MULS in Darkhan-Uul aimag) in 2018-2019. Dornod University Sports hall renovation work was completed in May 2019. Laboratory equipment for 3 universities (Ulaanbaatar, Commerce and Business, Khovd) were supplied in March 2020. Equipment and furniture for Medical School Library for Govi-Altai branch of MNUMS are supplied in June 2020.

To strengthen research capacity at the HEIs, 60 research grants were awarded to 312 (of which 152/49% are female) teachers and students of 12 HEIs in 2016 and successfully completed in 2018. All the final reports were accepted by the Science and Technology Foundation. 11 additional competitive grants that address local community problems and support local development were awarded to 129 (79/61.2% are female) teachers and graduate students of rural HEIs in 2019. Seven out of 11 were research grants.2 HEIs signed joint research and training development contracts with world's top two universities on 16 November 2015. The contract signed with MNUE and University of Oulu, Finland was completed and accepted by the MECSS working group on 8 June 2017. The contract established between the MUST and the MIT was completed on 31 December 2017 and assessed by MECSS working group in February 2018. A grant project _Integrated Interdisciplinary Mineral Resource Education in Mongolia_ of MUST together with University of British Columbia, Canada was implemented from 15 June 2018 to 1 June 2020. Blended online learning faculty development programs by Harvard Medical School for the MNUMS - Training to Teachers (T2T) and Training to Clinicians - were conducted in 2018-2020. Moreover, a partial grant to the MUST for its participation agreement with J-WEL Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab of MIT was provided in April 2020. In total 113 partnership grants were awarded to 104 (70/67.3% are female) researchers from 6 HEIs in 2016 with aim to promote Industry and HEI s partnership. Implementation of all partnership development grant projects was assessed and accepted by MECSS Working group in June-December 2017.

The Labor Market Study, Employers Satisfaction Survey and Graduates Tracer Study were conducted at selected 6 HEIs (the NUM, the MNUE, Institute of Engineering and Technology, Etugen University, Shine Anagaah Medical School, Gurvan Erdene Institute) in 2016 using the methodology developed by the IRIM consulting firm. In accordance with accreditation procedures set by MNCEA, all HEIs are obligated to conduct the Employers Satisfaction survey and Graduates Tracer study by using findings of nation-wide Labor Market Study in quality assurance of training programs and HEIs. In addition, the MECSS signed a contract with IRIM LLC to conduct a series of training to disseminate the methodologies developed under its previous assignment. The IRIM LLC conducted total of 81 training for 1,642 (1,184 or 72% female) faculty, administrators, and staff of public and private HEIs in 2015-2018 to disseminate the methodology. In total 53 faculty members (39 or 73.58% female) received individual training. Individual consultations on curriculum revision and career guidance were provided to 11 persons/schools (out of them 5 female).

Geographical Location Nation-wide
Safeguard Categories
Environment C
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects The simplified environmental management plan, prepared during the project design phase, to ensure full mitigation of any environmental impacts of limited civil works, have been followed for the minor civil works such as rehabilitation of existing facilities.
Involuntary Resettlement No impact on environment and resettlement is anticipated. Neither acquisition of land nor relocation of people is planned.
Indigenous Peoples No negative impacts on indigenous peoples are expected. Targeting approaches under the project will be applied nationwide and benefit indigenous peoples.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design All the relevant stakeholders have been consulted during the project processing, and their views and recommendations have been incorporated in the project design.
During Project Implementation The MECSS and PIU conduct consultation meetings and workshops with various stakeholders including the higher education institutes, other higher education sector projects in order to coordinate activities and exchange experiences. The PIU prepares and circulates a weekly briefing on project implementation for the MECSS. The PIU shares the project updates through the social media and it has its own website which is www.herp.mn.
Responsible ADB Officer Lonjid, Itgel
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Mongolia Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education and Science
[email protected]
Government Building-III, Suite # 514, Baga toiruu-44, Sukhbaatar district
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Concept Clearance 10 Aug 2010
Fact Finding 30 Aug 2010 to 14 Sep 2010
Approval 28 Jul 2011
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 29 Sep 2020

Loan 2766-MON

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
28 Jul 2011 09 Sep 2011 10 Jan 2012 30 Jun 2017 31 Dec 2020 -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 22.22 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 20.00 28 Jul 2011 17.24 0.00 97%
Counterpart 2.22 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 28 Jul 2011 17.69 0.00 100%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Partly satisfactory Satisfactory - Satisfactory

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Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

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Related Publications

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Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Monitoring and Information Security Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 18 Jun 2020 23 Jun 2020
Business Process and Data Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 07 May 2020 13 May 2020
Open Laboratory Network System's TOR Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 31 Oct 2019 09 Nov 2019
CDIO Education Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 07 Oct 2019 21 Oct 2019
CDIO Training Coordinator Individual - Consulting Closed 07 Oct 2019 21 Oct 2019
System Implementer and Tester Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Systems Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Full Stack Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Team Leader/Architect Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
API Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Process Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Business Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Backend Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Data Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Enterprise Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
IT engineer and Data Warehouse Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Base System and Security Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Human Resource Policy Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 10 May 2019 16 May 2019
Laboratory Accreditation Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 22 Apr 2019 19 May 2019
Human Resource Researcher Individual - Consulting Closed 22 Apr 2019 19 May 2019
Laboratory Research and Development Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 22 Apr 2019 19 May 2019
Consultancy Service for Project Evaluation Firm - Consulting Closed 17 Dec 2018 06 Jan 2019
Distance Education Support Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 24 Nov 2018 07 Dec 2018
Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 26 Jan 2018 04 Feb 2018
E-Learning Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 25 Sep 2017 08 Oct 2017
e-Learning Platform Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 25 Sep 2017 08 Oct 2017

Contracts Awarded

Contract Title Approval Number Contract Date Contractor Contractor Address Executing Agency Contract Description Total Contract Amount (US$) Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)
12 NATIONAL CONSULTANTS FOR HEMIS SECOND PHASE Loan 2766 03 Dec 2019 VARIOUS VARIOUS MONGOLIA Ministry of Education,Culture,Science_& Sports CONSULTANCY 270,186.00 248,571.00
Procurement of Laboratory Equipment and Supplies for National University of Mongolia, ICB 16/22 Loan 2766 15 Jun 2017 Various Various, Mongolia Ministry of Education,Culture,Science_& Sports Supply of Goods 1,222,342.00 1,111,220.00

Procurement Plan

Title Document Type Document Date
Higher Education Reform Project: Procurement Plan Procurement Plans Oct 2020