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 Progress Toward Outcome: 8,521 (5,533 or 64.9% are female) administrators, managers, higher education specialists, experts, teachers, and faculty members from MECSS, NCEA and selected HEIs attended 193 in-country trainings, workshops in areas such as international quality assurance, governance/management and financing of HEIs, methodology of graduate tracer study, employer satisfaction survey, labor market study and CDIO standards.
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 accreditation of 20 programs are being done by the National Center for Education Accreditation (NCEA). An official approval of an accreditation of 11 programs (_Zoo-engineering_, _Agronomy_, _Environmental protection technology_, and _Commodity and raw materials research and technology_ programs of MULS; _Information technology_, and _Electronics engineering_ programs of NUM; _Sewing technology_, _Architecture_, _Industrial ecology_, and _Nutrition_ programs of MUST; and _Teacher, primary education_ of MSUE) was made in January and June of 2018, respectively. The remaining 9 programs are being reviewed by field experts and waiting for hearings at their respective Field committees.

- So far 7 programs have been accredited internationally: (i) the General medicine program of Mongolian National University of Medical Science (MNUMS); (ii) the Geodesy program of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST); (iii) the Software Engineering (and Information Technology as a cluster) of National University of Mongolia (NUM); (iv) the Telecommunications Engineering Technology (and Wireless Communications Engineering Technology as a cluster) of MUST; (v) Mechanical Engineering program of Mongolian University of Life Science (MULS).

- The twinning program between the Accreditation Agency for Degree Programs in Engineering, Informatics, the Natural Sciences and Mathematics of Federal Republic of Germany (ASIIN) and the NCEA, are progressing with good results. Under the Twinning program, the guidelines and manuals for institutional, program and initial accreditation were developed in May 2017. The new criteria and procedures for institutional, program and initial accreditation were approved by Governing Board of the NCEA in June 2018 after piloting the use of these newly developed criteria and procedures successfully at selected 6 HEIs. In total, 492 (of which 359/72.9% female) experts of professional council, school faculty members and administration attended the ASIIN supported workshops and trainings on new standards, procedures and internal quality assurance.

- The project provided the following grants through the competitive selection process: (i) 13 partnership grants to 104 researchers from 6 higher education institutes (HEI) with aim to promote Industry and HEIs partnership; (ii) 3 grants for the joint research and capacity building partnership with foreign universities; (iii) 17 institutional development grants to 143 researchers from 6 public and 2 private HEIs; (iv) 60 research grants to 312 teachers and students from 12 HEIs to strengthen a research capacity at the HEIs; (iv) 117 grants to support students' initiatives.

- The project supported improving the teaching and learning environment at schools: (i) the office furniture and equipment were supplied to 7 rural HEIs in 2014; (ii) minor renovation was done at 8 HEIs; (iii) lab equipment were supplied to 6 HEIs; (iv) distance education equipment were supplied to 5 HEIs in 2016; (v) 6 software applications were supplied to Mechanical and Transportation School of MUST and the distance learning center at MNUE; and (vi) laboratory equipment and tools were supplied to 2 rural HEIs in 2018.

- The MECSS signed a cooperation agreement with MUST for implementation of CDIO (Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate) standards in telecommunication, textile and industrial automation technology programs on 3 August 2016. The first stage is completed on 31 January 2018 and the final wrap-up meeting was held on 16 March 2018 for representatives of MECSS, ADB, HEIs, trade associations and employers. In this first stage a total of 160 faculty members of three Universities, MUST, NUM, MULS became direct beneficiaries from the training and seminars organized together with Singapore Polytechnic Institute; and around 2000 teachers of 96 public and private HEIs are trained on CDIO standards and methodologies. The Advancing CDIO phase has commenced in April 2018, which aims to advance the application of CDIO Teaching and Learning framework with a strong focus on edu-tech applications, multi-disciplinary projects, and faculty capability to sustain CDIO initiatives. The CDIO capacity development activities for teachers of 6 Universities (MUST, NUM, MULS, MNUE, MNDU, MSUAC) are planned in this stage. teachers (29 or 58% are female).

- 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 program accreditation procedures set by NCEA, all HEIs are now obligated to conduct the Employers Satisfaction survey and Graduates Tracer study by using findings of nation-wide Labor Market Study for quality assurance of their training programs. IRIM LLC conducted a series of training for HEIs from September 2017 to March 2018 to disseminate the methodologies.

- Opening of five distance education centers was held by MECSS on 24 January 2018. The e-learning consultants have completed situation analysis of the distance education centers, research field visits to rural centers, and recommended on suitable form and organization of distance education. An e-learning platform called _e-learning.edu.mn_ is being developed to be used by these centers as their own e-learning environment. The Minister's decree on direction and coordination of activities of the distance education centers for 2018-2020 was issued on 22 August 2018.

- The Higher Education Management Information System (HEMIS) is being developed by a team of six consultants since January 2018. As of 31 August 2018, the progress is assessed as 41%. It is expected that the HEMIS will be completed by the planned date on 1 July 2019.

- The _Student enrollment in higher education_ study analysis report and policy recommendation for gender equality in enrollment policies of Mongolian universities were completed by the Gender working group and accepted by MECSS on 20 March 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 17 Sep 2018

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 13.88 0.00 78%
Counterpart 2.22 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 28 Jul 2011 14.35 0.00 81%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - 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 Public Communications Policy (PCP) 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.

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

The Access to Information Policy 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.


Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
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 Platform Consultant Individual - Consulting Closed 25 Sep 2017 08 Oct 2017
E-Learning 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 Oct 2018