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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

- The project has supported capacity building of 15,445 (10,100 or 65.39% are female) administrators, managers, higher education specialists, experts, teachers, and faculty members MECSS, NCEA and selected HEIs in topics such as governance, management, finance and accounting, learning and teaching, faculty development, accreditation, research policy, National Qualification Framework & credit system, partnership, higher education responsiveness to labor market, and gender equality in higher education, research methodology, open and distance education, higher education management information system and CDIO standards' implementation, which supports higher education reform.

- 347 (187 or 53.89% are female) policy makers, administrators and teachers participated in the 45 overseas training, workshops and study tours in areas such as accreditation, governance, management and financing of HEIs, methodology of CDIO standard and gender equality.

- 41 trainings on CDIO approaches were conducted for over 2,291 managers, teachers and staff from 6 private, 10 state UB HEIs and 13 rural HEIs.

- Five distance education centers were established at the universities in Ulaanbaatar and rural provinces to improve access and quality of higher education for rural students and faculty.

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)

- The project has significantly contributed to the capacity building of the higher education institutes (HEI). About 405 (253 or 62.4% female) administrators, managers, faculty members attended seven trainings on the topics related to governance, financing and management of higher education, organized under the project. 142 (89 or 62.7% female) administrators, managers and faculty members from the MECSS and HEIs participated in overseas trainings and study tours on topics related to higher education governance, management and financing. 237 (136 or 58.9% female) senior management staff including presidents of public and private HEIs, participated in the training on governance and leadership. 100 (44% female) participants attended a consultation meeting on HE governance organized in collaboration with the Parliament Standing Committee on Social Protection, Education, Culture and Science.

- Five distance education centers were established with programs for outreach to at least 2,000 teachers and students of HEIs (50% of users are female). The furniture, tele-conferencing and remote monitoring tools and software were supplied to five distance education centers at MSUE, Arkhangai branch school of MSUE, Khovd University, Dornod University, Zavkhan branch school of NUM during 2015 and 2016. The individual consultants have worked assisting on development of e-Learning Platform, implementation of e-Learning at the distance education centers, and coordination of the planned trainings by the distance education centers. In 2018-2019, 2015 (1376 or 68.3% are female) teachers were trained by two-day face-to-face and two-month online trainings through the distance education centers.

- The project supported the MECSS in developing the Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) in two phases. The first phase was implemented from January 2018 to June 2019 and accepted by MECSS in August 2019. Under the second phase commenced in September 2019, the consultants team has been further developing the HEMIS. The additional subsystems and modules being developed, but also the system maintenance and administration is being handled

- 13 partnership grants were awarded to 104 researchers from 6 HEIs with aim to promote the industry and university partnership. MUST and MNUE implemented joint research and training programs with MIT, USA and University of Oulu, Finland in 2015-2018. MUST started collaboration with University of British Columbia, Canada to implement Integrated interdisciplinary mineral resource education in Mongolia' from June 2018.

- The project supported improving the higher education accreditation system. The regulatory framework for the National Center for Education Accreditation (NCEA) is aligned with the international standards; organizational structure and working committees are renewed; the experts were trained; and support were provided for the international and national accreditation of the programs. The project supported international accreditation of 20 programs. The revised Charter of Education Accreditation Body was approved by the Government resolution of 5 September 2018. It enables the NCEA to register and authorize foreign and national accreditation institutes and evaluate their activities. The Asian Pacific Quality Assurance Network (APQN)'s decision to accept the NCEA onto the Asia-Pacific Quality Register (APQR) with validity period for five years until July 2024, was issued in July 2019.

- The methodology for Labor market study, Employer satisfaction survey and Graduates tracer studies were developed by the project for the HEIs, and all the HEIs were trained.

- The project supported the Education Evaluation Center (EEC) to conduct the HEI program assessment in May 2019.

- To strengthen research capacity of HEIs, 60 research grants were awarded to 312 (152 or 49% were female) teachers and students from 12 HEIs in 2016 and 2018. In total 18 institutional development grants were awarded to 130 researchers from 6 public HEIs and 2 private HEIs in 2015 and 2018. Currently 7 research and 4 institutional development grants for rural HEIs to address local community problems and support local development, are being implemented by 129 (79 or 61.2% are female) teachers and graduate students.

- The project supported application of the CDIO principles in the university programs. The application of basic CDIO stage was implemented in 2016-2018 and achieved the following: (i) renovating, furnishing and equipping 8 CDIO workshops; (ii) three engineering programs of MUST namely, _Industrial automation program_, _Textile technology program_, _Telecommunication program_ were revised in accordance with the CDIO standards; (iii) 24 master trainers were prepared through series of internal and external trainings_; (iv) a guideline for implementation of CDIO in HEIs was developed in August 2017; and (vi) a set of 6 training manuals were printed and distributed to HEIs. A total of 160 faculty members of MUST, NUM and MULS became direct beneficiaries from joint training seminars organized in cooperation with Singapore Polytechnic, and around 2291 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 twelve (12) overseas CDIO events, including regional meetings.

- The second stage of CDIO initiative - Advancing CDIO was implemented from April 2018 to April 2019. Six participating universities are MUST, NUM, MULS, MNUE, MNUAC and MNDU. A total of 260 (149 or 57.31% are female) educators and administrators were trained through 8 training workshops. Digital learning contents and materials for CDIO approaches were developed and disseminated. At the end of the Advancing CDIO stage, 7 training programs of MUST, NULS, MNUE, MNUAC and MNDU, which applied the Advancing CDIO approach, were assessed by a joint working group of MECSS and the Temasek Foundation. Equipment and furniture were provided to 6 participating universities in Q1 2020.

- The project also supports improving the physical learning and teaching environment at HEIs. The office furniture was supplied to 7 rural HEIs in 2014. The minor renovation was completed at 8 HEIs in 2013-2014. Since the project commencement, the laboratory equipment and tools have been supplied to about 20 HEIs including recently signed contracts for supply of laboratory equipment to 3 universities (Ulaanbaatar University, Commerce and Business University and Khovd University).

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, Culture, Science & Sports
[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 30 Mar 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 30 Jun 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 16.54 0.00 93%
Counterpart 2.22 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 28 Jul 2011 17.19 0.00 97%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - 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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Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Business Process and Data Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 07 May 2020 13 May 2020
Monitoring and Information Security 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 Training Coordinator Individual - Consulting Closed 07 Oct 2019 21 Oct 2019
CDIO Education Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 07 Oct 2019 21 Oct 2019
System Implementer and Tester Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Team Leader/Architect Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Full Stack Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Process Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
API Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Data Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Backend Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Business Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Base System and Security Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
IT engineer and Data Warehouse Developer Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Enterprise Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Systems Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed 13 Aug 2019 19 Aug 2019
Human Resource Policy Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 10 May 2019 16 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
Laboratory Accreditation 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 May 2020