Mongolia : Higher Education Reform Project

Sovereign Project | 43007-023

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 Name Higher Education Reform Project
Project Number 43007-023
Country / Economy Mongolia
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 2766-MON: Higher Education Reform Project
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.

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 been successfully implemented and completed as of 31 Dec 2020. The loan account is closed, the final audit of the project financial statements for FY2020 is being carried. MES is preparing the project completion report.
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)

Output 1:

1.17 programs were 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).

2._20 programs were nationally accredited in the priority disciplines, such as natural sciences, engineering and technology, and agriculture in 2018.

3._The capacity of Mongolian National Center for Education Accreditation was strengthened._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 revisions and improvements were made in MNCEA Board and Structural Units procedures, organizational set-up and strategic plan. 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.

4._The Labor Market study was conducted in 2016 at selected six HEIs: the NUM, the MNUE, Institute of Engineering and Technology, Etugen University, Shine Anagaah Medical School, Gurvan Erdene Institute_using the methodology proposed by the IRIM consulting firm. Dissemination of the methodology to public and private HEIs completed and total of 82 training for 1,642 (1,184/72% are female) teachers, administrators, staff of 88 HEIs were organized._

Employers Satisfaction survey and Graduates Tracer study were conducted at selected six 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 using the findings of nation-wide labor market study in quality assurance of training programs and HEIs.

5._13 partnership grants were awarded to 126 (72/57.1% are female) researchers from six HEIs in 2016 with aim to promote Industry and HEI's partnership. Implementation of all partnership development grant projects were assessed and accepted by MES working group in June-December 2017._

6._The collaborations were established with leading foreign HEIs: (i) two HEIs signed joint research and training development contracts with world's top two universities on 16 November 2015 and completed by 31 December 2017. The contract between MNUE and University of Oulu, Finland_and contract between MUST and the MIT; (ii) A grant project on "Integrated Interdisciplinary Mineral Resource Education in Mongolia" of MUST_with University of British Columbia, Canada was implemented from 15 June 2018 to 1 June 2020; (iii) 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; (iv) 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.

7._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 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% are female) teachers and graduate students of rural HEIs in 2019. Seven out of 11 were research grants.

8. The first phase basic CDIO program was completed on 31 January 2018. Under the basic CDIO: (i) renovation work of eight 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 implemented the CDIO standards; (iii) 24 master trainers are 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 six training manuals were printed and distributed to HEIs; and (v) equipment and furniture were supplied to the eight 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 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 twelve (12) overseas CDIO events, including regional meetings. The second stage of CDIO initiative "Advancing CDIO" implemented between April 2018 and April 2019. Six participating universities are MUST, NUM, MULS, MNUE, MNUAC and MNDU. A series of training comprised of five training components were conducted by 30 October 2018. Training components No.1-4 have been completed. A total of 260 (149 or 57.31% are female) educators and administrators has been successfully trained. Seven programs of MUST, NULS, MNUE, MNUAC, MNDU implemented CDIO advanced approach and results were assessed by a working group of MES 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 was supplied to six universities in 2019 and equipment were supplied in April 2020. CDIO Education and Training coordinator (consultants) were engaged from 15 November 2019 to 30 April 2020 for implementation of next round of CDIO cascading activities in the framework of OBE policy implementation in higher education. Education Development Centers of the participating universities were supported to enhance teaching and learning practices. The 2020 CDIO Asian Regional Meeting was organized on 23-25 September 2020. In total 332 (150 or 45.2% are female) participants from 13 countries attended. Furniture and equipment for CDIO Education Development Center were supplied to all 6 participating universities in December 2019 and April 2020, respectively. CDIO Education and Training coordinator (consultants) were engaged from 15 November 2019 to 30 April 2020 to support implementation of the next round of CDIO cascading activities in the framework of OBE policy implementation in higher education. Education Development Centers of the participating universities were supported to enhance teaching and learning practices.

9._The physical learning environment in HEI was improved for HEIs: office furniture were supplied to seven rural HEIs in 2014. Minor renovation was completed at eight HEIs in 2013-2014. Laboratory equipment was supplied to two public HEIs in 2015. Laboratory facilities and equipment was supplied to four HEIs in 2016-2017 and additional laboratory tools were supplied in 2018. Tele-conferencing equipment was supplied to five HEIs. Six software application were supplied to two HEIs. Laboratory equipment and tools were 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's Sports hall renovation work completed in May 2019. Laboratory equipment for three universities (Ulaanbaatar, Commerce and Business, Khovd) were supplied in March 2020. Equipment and furniture for Medical School Library for Govi-Altai branch of MNUMS was supplied in June 2020. Physical education equipment and music instrument were supplied to MNUE in December 2019. Musical instruments for three HEIs (Mongolian Conservatorium, Music and Dance Collage of Zavkhan aimag, Arkhangai branch of MNUE) were supplied in July 2020._Computers and office furniture were supplied to the newly established Higher Education Faculty Development Unit of ITPD in September 2020.

Output 2:

1.With support of international consulting service, a corporate governance was piloted in four universities and Higher Education Law was amended to provide public HEIs autonomous status in April 2016. However, this arrangement was reverted in January 2017, a good practice including composition and selection procedure of board members remained at HEIs. The corporate governance was piloted in two public and two private universities, including NUM, MNUMS, Ider and Otgontenger universities in 2016. 280 (181 or 64.6% were female) administrators, managers, faculty members attended seven trainings organized by CSHER on governance (2), financing (3) and management (2) of higher education._148 (91 or 61.4% was female) administrators, managers and faculty members from the MECSS and HEIs participated in five study tours and ten overseas training in topics related to higher education governance, management and financing. 327 (189/57.7%) senior management staff including presidents of public and private HEIs participated in four training on governance and leadership. One consultation meeting on HE governance was organized with collaboration of Great State Hural with 100 (44% female) participants. Higher Education Management Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was developed and accessible to public. As of 23 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.

Output 3:

2.Advocacy activities to increase women's share in HEIs' board and top management were implemented. A total number of board members of public HEIs was 185 (37/20% were female) in 2009-2010 and 170 (61/35.88%) in 2020-2021._The number of female board members increased by 15.88% from 2009 to 2020. 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 2009-2010 and 419 (179/42.7%) in 2020-2021. Overall, the number of female board members and managers of public HEIs increased by 4.81% between 2009 and 2020.

3.Five distance education centers (DEC) were established at Arkhangai branch school of MSUE, Khovd University, Dornod University, Zavkhan branch school of NUM and all necessary furniture and equipment were supplied. 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. Online course equipment to distance learning center at the MNUE was supplied and installed.

4.Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) was developed in two phases. 9 subsystems, which facilitate the collection, aggregation, acquisition and processing data on higher education, were developed from January 2018 to June 2019. In total, 286 (188 or 65.73% are female) system end users were trained. Within the second phase, data warehouse, analytical applications and information portals were developed and the maintenance and administration of the entire system were undertaken. The system development work completed on 30 June 2020. Two independent experts, namely Business Process and Data Analyst and Monitoring and Information Security Analyst, to assist the MES in testing and acceptance of the system were hired in July-August 2020 and completed their services by 11 Aug 2020. In October 2020, the HEMIS was handed over to the "Education Information Technology Center" (a new agency established on 25 March 2020).

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
Responsible ADB Officer Lonjid, Itgel
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Mongolia Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education and Science
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 2021

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 12 Mar 2021
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 22.22 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 20.00 06 Dec 2022 17.64 0.00 100%
Counterpart 2.22 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 06 Dec 2022 17.64 0.00 100%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory - Satisfactory

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

Title Document Type Document Date
Higher Education Reform Project: Completion Report Project/Program Completion Reports Nov 2022
Higher Education Reform Project: Audited Project Financial Statements (January-December 2020) Audited Project Financial Statements Jun 2021
Higher Education Reform Project: Project Administration Manual Project/Program Administration Manual Mar 2021
Higher Education Reform Project: Procurement Plan Procurement Plans Mar 2021
Higher Education Reform Project: Audited Project Financial Statements (January-December 2019) Audited Project Financial Statements Jul 2020
Higher Education Reform Project: Audited Project Financial Statements (January-December 2018) Audited Project Financial Statements Oct 2019
Дээд боловсролын шинэчлэлийн төсөл : Төслийн МэдээллийнТайлан Translated PDS Sep 2018
Higher Education Reform Project: Audited Project Financial Statements (January-December 2017) Audited Project Financial Statements Aug 2018
Amendment to the Loan Agreement (Special Operations) for Loan 2766-MON: Higher Education Reform Project Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Aug 2016
Higher Education Reform Project: Gender Action Plan Gender Action Plans Jun 2015
Loan Agreement for Higher Education Reform Project between Mongolia and Asian Development Bank dated 9 September 2011 Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Sep 2011
Higher Education Reform Project: Project Administration Memoranda Project/Program Administration Manual Jul 2011
Higher Education Reform Project Summary Poverty Reduction and Social Strategies Jul 2011
Higher Education Reform Project: Gender Action Plans Gender Action Plans Jul 2011
Higher Education Reform Project Reports and Recommendations of the President Jul 2011

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.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

Title Document Type Document Date
Improving Labor Market through Higher Education Reform Project in Mongolia Papers and Briefs Dec 2011

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.

  • 24 Jun 2019 | Video

    Reforming Mongolia's Higher Education Sector

    Mongolia is reforming its higher education sector, improving the quality and relevance of the courses on offer in its Universities, which is driving up graduate employment rate.


Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Monitoring and Information Security Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed
Business Process and Data Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed
Open Laboratory Network System's TOR Developer Individual - Consulting Closed
CDIO Training Coordinator Individual - Consulting Closed
CDIO Education Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed
Base System and Security Developer Individual - Consulting Closed
IT engineer and Data Warehouse Developer Individual - Consulting Closed
Enterprise Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed
Process Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed
API Developer Individual - Consulting Closed
Systems Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed
System Implementer and Tester Individual - Consulting Closed
Data Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed
Backend Developer Individual - Consulting Closed
Business Analyst Individual - Consulting Closed
Team Leader/Architect Individual - Consulting Closed
Full Stack Developer Individual - Consulting Closed
Human Resource Policy Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed
Laboratory Accreditation Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed
Human Resource Researcher Individual - Consulting Closed
Laboratory Research and Development Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed
Consultancy Service for Project Evaluation Firm - Consulting Closed
Distance Education Support Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed
Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed
e-Learning Platform Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed
E-Learning Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed

Contracts Awarded

Contract Title Approval Number Contract Date Contractor | Address Executing Agency 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 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 1,222,342.00 1,111,220.00

Procurement Plan

Title Document Type Document Date
Higher Education Reform Project: Procurement Plan Procurement Plans Mar 2021