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.

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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

Opening of the distance education centers was held by MECSS on 24 January 2018. The Minister's decree on direction and coordination of activities of the distance education centers for 2018-2020 was issued on 22 August 2018. An integrated activity plan of the distance education centers for 2018-2019 was approved by MECSS. As per the plan, a series of six trainings for 2000 teachers and students will be conducted by the centers.

The HEMIS team conducted a consultation workshop with MECSS and HE agencies on 19 January 2018. Briefing sessions on progress in developing the system were held in May-October 2018, respectively. As of December 2018, the progress status of the system is 70% and six modules of the system are ready to be implemented.

A guideline on the selection and funding of additional students' initiative projects was approved by MECSS on 15 November 2018. An invitation for grant proposals was published in daily newspapers and websites on 3 December 2018. 147 grant proposals from 23 HEIs (which passed the first stage of evaluation at their respective schools) were submitted to MECSS. Currently, the proposals are under review of the Grant selection committee.

The Student enrollment in higher education study analysis report and policy recommendation for gender equality in enrollment policies of Mongolian universities were accepted by MECSS and submitted for publication.

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)

A total number of managers in public HEIs including directors, deputy directors, branch school directors, branch school deputy directors, academic affairs director was 211 (61/28.9%) in 2009 and 210 (75/35.7%) in 2017 respectively. The number of female board members and managers increased by 6.8% from 2009 to 2017.

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. Two individual consultants to assist in development of e-Learning Platform, and implementation of e-Learning at the distance education centers, were engaged by the MECSS since 15 December 2017 for 6 months. Opening of the distance education centers was held by MECSS on 24 January 2018. A pilot testing (20 minute-training) was conducted at the opening to evaluate reactions and get feedback from all participating HEIs. Remote monitoring equipment for distance learning was supplied in September 2018. The Minister's decree on direction and coordination of activities of the distance education centers for 2018-2020 was issued on 22 August 2018. An integrated activity plan of the distance education centers for 2018-2019 was approved by MECSS. A series of six training for 2,000 teachers and students will be conducted by the centers. The first training on e-course content preparation was organized for 15 teachers (9 or 60% are female) on 10-21 December 2018.

On 5 October 2017, ADB endorsed the MECSS's proposal to recruit 6 consultants from the IT team, which had successfully developed Education Management Information System for preschool, primary and secondary education, for development of HEMIS. The consultants were recruited in December and commenced services in January 2018. A consultation workshop with MECSS and HE agencies was conducted on 19 January 2018. Briefing sessions on progress in developing the system were held in May-October 2018. As of December 2018, the progress status of the system is 70% and six modules of the system are ready to be implemented. A end users' training on implementation of main modules of a new system for over 200 specialists of all state and private universities was conducted by the HEMIS team on 10-11 December 2018. 166 academic affairs specialists (130 or 78% are female) of 85 universities, institutes, colleges including branches and affiliate schools were participated.

13 partnership grants were awarded to 104 researchers from 6 HEIs with aim to promote Industry and HEI's partnership in 2016. Implementation of all partnership development grant projects was assessed and accepted by MECSS Working group during June-December 2017.

2 HEIs signed joint research and training development contracts with world's top 2 universities on 16 November 2015. The contract signed with MSUE 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 is completed on 31 December 2017 and assessed by MECSS working group in February 2018

A total of 10 programs have been accredited internationally in 2016-2018:

The _General medicine_ program of Mongolian National University of Medical Science (MNUMS) and the _Geodesy_ program of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST) were accredited by the ASIIN in October 2016 and April 2017 respectively. The Software Engineering (and Information Technology as a cluster) of National University of Mongolia (NUM) was accredited by ASIIN under a few requirements from 8 December 2017 until 18 January 2019. The Telecommunications Engineering Technology (and Wireless Communications Engineering Technology as a cluster) of MUST received a ABET Draft Statement of accreditation on 12 January 2018. Mechanical Engineering program of Mongolian University of Life Science (MULS) received its six-year accreditation decision on 29 August 2018. Teacher, Mathematics Education program of Mongolian National University of Education (MNUE) received its five-year accreditation decision by ASIIN with requirements for one year on 23 July 2018. Chemistry program of NUM received a one-year conditional accreditation by ASIIN on 28 September 2018.

All 20 programs have been nationally accredited. An official approval of an accreditation of 3 programs (_Zoo-engineering_ and _Agronomy_ programs of MULS, and _Information technology_ of NUM) was made on 15 January 2018. A decision of an approval of 8 programs (_Environmental protection technology_, _Commodity and raw materials research and technology_ of MULS, _Sewing technology_, _Architecture_, _Industrial ecology_, _Nutrition_ of MUST, _Electronics engineering_ of NUM and _Teacher, primary education_ of MSUE) was made on 26 August 2018.

9 programs _Geography_, _Land management_, _Biology_, _Physics_, _Biotechnology_, _Mathematics_, _Ecology_, _Geology_ and Computer networking of NUM received accreditation decision on 19 December 2018.

Two year twinning program signed between the Accreditation Agency for Degree Programs in Engineering, Informatics, 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 deliverables 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. Prior to the approval, the proposed new criteria and procedures were pilot tested in the selected programs of HEIs. In addition, preparation of subsequent steps for external review within international recognition, study tour, comparative review of the agency development, HEIs Internal Quality Assurance practices ,and development of and capacity building for IQA were supported under the twinning program. 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.

A Charter of Education Accreditation Body was revised and approved by the Government resolution of 5 September 2018. The new charter follows Education Law Amendments of 2016 making MNCEA as a central body responsible for general administration/management and implementation of education accreditation and assessment. It also enables MNCEA to register and authorize foreign and national accrediting bodies, advise them and evaluate the progress of their activities. In April 2018, MNCEA Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 was developed by Institute for Strategic Studies in Education and it was reviewed by ASIIN for its revision. Currently, MECSS is reviewing the plan.

MNCEA contracted with an IT team of MUST to develop its Management Information System.

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 proposed by the IRIM consulting firm. In accordance with Accreditation procedures set by MNCEA, all HEIs are obligated to conduct their 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 three-month contract with IRIM LLC to conduct a series of training to disseminate the methodologies developed under its previous Higher Education Responsiveness to Labor Market consultancy service on 15 September 2017. Service contract with IRIM LLC completed in March 2018.

To disseminate the developed methodologies by IRIM LLC, they conducted total of 81 trainings for 1,642 (1,184 or 72% female) faculty, administrators and staff of public and private HEIs in 2015-2018. 53 (39 or 73.58% female) got school-based individual training.

Individual consultations on curriculum revision and career guidance were provided to 11 persons/schools (out of them 5 female). During the training on implementing Labor Market studies by the IRIM team, a short movie on good practices among HEIs was developed. Good practices were identified at Shine Anagaakh University and MSUE.

60 research grants were awarded to 312 (of which 152/49% are female) teachers and students from 12 HEIs by an order of MECSS of 9 September 2016 to strengthen a research capacity at the HEIs.

A working group established by MECSS has conducted evaluation of 45 projects in April 2017 and the remaining 15 were evaluated in December 2017 and February 2018. All final reports were accepted by the Science and Technology Foundation.

As per the project implementation plan for 2018-2019, 12 additional research and institutional development grants will be provided to rural HEIs in 2019.

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. Tele-conferencing equipment was supplied to 5 HEIs. Online course equipment to distance learning center at the MNUE was supplied and installed. 6 software application were supplied to 2 HEIs. Laboratory equipment and tools are supplied to 2 rural HEIs (Petroleum Research Laboratory of Dornod University and Research Laboratory to Technology School of MUST in Darkhan Uul aimag) in 2018. A contract to supply of laboratory equipment and tools to another 2 rural HEIs was signed in Q4 2018.

MECSS signed a cooperation agreement with MUST for implementation of CDIO standards in telecommunication, textile and industrial automation technology programs on 3 August 2016. The basic CDIO program was completed on 31 January 2018, and a meeting on the final report was held on 16 March 2018 for representatives of MECSS, ADB, HEIs, trade associations and employers. Under the basic CDIO: (i) Renovation work of 8 CDIO workshop rooms were completed in May 2017; (ii) 43 course syllabus of _Industrial automation program_, 30 course syllabus of _Textile technology program_, 25 course syllabus of _Telecommunication program_ were selected for a revision in accordance with the CDIO standards; (iii) Initial training on program revision was conducted at _Textile technology program_; (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 are supplied to the 8 CDIO workshops.

In this first stage, a total of 160 faculty members of MUST, NUM, MULS became direct beneficiaries from joint training seminars organized in cooperation with Singapore Polytechnic, and around 2000 teachers of 96 public and private HEIs were trained on CDIO standards and methodologies. 24 faculty members, consultants and MECSS officials participated in six (6) overseas CDIO events, including regional meetings.

The second stage of CDIO initiative _Advancing CDIO_ started in April 2018. 6 participating universities are MUST, NUM, MULS, MNUE, MNUAC and MNDU. A series of training (comprises of 5 training components) are planned to be conducted by 30 October 2018. Training components 1-4 have been completed.

The implementation status of piloting the governance as follows:

1. NUM 54%

2. MNUMS 91.8%

3. Otgontenger University 70.2%

4. Ider Institute 51.57%

The average implementation of the pilot is 66.9%.

405 (253 or 62.4% were female) administrators, managers, faculty members attended 7 trainings organized by CSHER on governance (2), financing (3) and management (3) of higher education.

112 (68 or 60.71% was female) administrators, managers and faculty members from the MECSS and HEIs participated in two study tours and nine overseas training in topics related to higher education governance, management and financing. 237 (136/58.9%) senior management staff including presidents of public and private HEIs participated in 4 training on governance and leadership in 2018.

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.
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 29 Mar 2019

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 14.35 0.00 81%
Counterpart 2.22 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 28 Jul 2011 14.81 0.00 84%
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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Related Publications

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Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
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$) Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)
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 2019