fbpx 52203-001: Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program | Asian Development Bank

Sri Lanka: Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program

Sovereign (Public) Project | 52203-001 Status: Approved

Sri Lanka has recorded a steady economic growth of 5% per annum for the past decade. In 2019, it attained an upper middle-income country status with a per capita income of $4,020. To continue achieving higher incomes and better standards of living, the government commits to becoming a knowledge-based economy by 2025. Investments in human capital and education have been prioritized for economic diversification and enhanced productivity.

Project Details

Project Officer
Jayasundara, Herathbanda South Asia Department Request for information
  • Sri Lanka
  • Education
Project Name Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program
Project Number 52203-001
Country Sri Lanka
Project Status Approved
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 4021-SRI: Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program
Ordinary capital resources US$ 400.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Education / Secondary

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming

Sri Lanka has recorded a steady economic growth of 5% per annum for the past decade. In 2019, it attained an upper middle-income country status with a per capita income of $4,020. To continue achieving higher incomes and better standards of living, the government commits to becoming a knowledge-based economy by 2025. Investments in human capital and education have been prioritized for economic diversification and enhanced productivity.

Alignment with country strategy and ADB's value addition: SESIP is aligned with ADB's Strategy 2030, ADB's Country Partnership Strategy 2018-2022 and contributes to pillar 1 (promoting economic diversification and productivity enhancement) by upgrading human capital. It is included in the ADB's Country Operations Business Plan 2020-2022. Although SESIP financing represents only 3.4% of government secondary education spending, it aims to bring transformational change to secondary education and will add value by (i) supporting integrated reforms in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment that will influence the overall education sector; (ii) training teachers with innovative training modalities that will impact on both pre-service and in-service teacher training quality and modalities; and (iii) focusing efforts at the school level with dedicated resources to improve learning outcomes of the underperforming rural school students. ADB's extensive engagement and experience in implementing similar reforms in several other Asian countries can be utilized. ADB is a long-term, trusted partner of Sri Lanka in secondary education and skills development and has ongoing projects in skills development and higher education, where strong synergy with secondary education will be sought.

SESIP will support the government's secondary education sub-sector program, expected to cost $5.80 billion from 2020 to 2025. ADB will finance $195 million for the RBL and $5 million for the associated project loan, with the balance to be funded by the government. The program expenditure framework and financing plan is in Appendix 4. Considering the ongoing efforts being made by the government in preparing SESIP, financing for prior results may be considered in areas that are integral to curriculum and pedagogical reform -- central to the success of reform implementation.

The RBL program and the associated project loan will be implemented from May 2020 to December 2025. The MOE will be the executing agency for both RBL and investment project. A SESIP steering committee will be established, comprising MOE, National Education Commission, National Institute of Education, Department of Examinations, Provincial Council, Finance Commission, and PEAs and other key stakeholders. The steering committee will be headed by Secretary, MOE. A SESIP program unit will be established within MOE to coordinate and monitor the progress in achieving the DLIs as well as implement and monitor the procurement of consulting services under the investment project. Procurement for the associated project loan will be undertaken following the ADB Procurement Policy: Goods, Works, Non-consulting and Consulting Services (2017, as amended from time to time); and the ADB Procurement Regulations for ADB Borrowers: Goods, Works, Non-consulting and Consulting Services (2017, as amended from time to time).

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy Results-based lending with associated project loan. RBL modality is appropriate to support the government's well-defined reform program-the Education Sector Development plan, 2018-2025-because it focuses on large scale system reforms and critical results rather than specific transactions and expenditures as in the case of project modality. The RBL modality will leverage resources to strengthen and sustain key reforms in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment systems and catalyze increased government and development partner resources around a set of common program results. The RBL modality will also reduce high transaction costs associated with multiple small transactions with provincial authorities and schools across the country. Initial assessments indicate that while systems are adequate for RBL implementation, there is a need to further augment institutional development. Given the ambitious reforms proposed in the RBL, the Government has made a request for dedicated resources to finance critical technical inputs to support reform initiatives. Hence, an investment loan of $5 million will be incorporated with the RBL modality to finance consulting services to support institutional strengthening of the MOE and related agencies only. As program systems are used to implement the RBL program, and reforms are implemented by government staff, the associated project loan will be used to strengthen RBL program systems and capacity, enhance sustainability and institutionalize good practices. Incorporating the project loan with the RBL will reduce transaction costs of processing two separate lending operations. The executing agency and stakeholders have experience in implementing a RBL program and the reform-focused, robust disbursement-linked indicators (DLIs) are being developed in close consultation with stakeholders.
Impact Human resource development enhanced, supporting healthy and productive citizens and a globally competitive knowledge-centered economy.
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Secondary education system transformed and aligned with evolving labor force needs.
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Quality and relevance of secondary science, technology, mathematics, and commerce programs enhanced.

Provincial and school capacity to implement education reforms strengthened.

Sector management capacity strengthened.

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Nation-wide
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

The main beneficiaries of the program will be senior secondary students, particularly students from provinces and rural areas. The project preparation team met with students, parents, teachers, Principals and provincial education staff to seek their views and concerns and these have been incorporated in program design. While both boys and girls will benefit from improved STEM streams, the program provides a particular emphasis on attracting girls into STEM. Teachers will also benefit from training in improved pedagogy in STMC subjects. Principals, Deputy Principals and provincial and zonal education officers will benefit from educational leadership and management training. Other stakeholders of the project are staff from Ministry of Education, National Institute for Education and the Department of Education who will design and implement new curricula, pedagogies, assessments, and monitoring and evaluation systems. The stakeholders also include the School Development Committees, which prepare school development plans (SDP) and school management committees, including parents, community leaders, school management, provincial education authorities, who implement the decisions. There are no negatively affected people.

Parents, community members and representatives of vulnerable groups or students living in provincial and rural areas will contribute inputs to SDPs through school development committees. The program will enhance participation, confidence-building and interactive learning by children, including vulnerable children from the poorest families.

The civil society organizations working in the education sector include Room to Read, World Vision, Save the Children, and Child Fund. However, the priorities of these organizations are in the areas of primary and junior secondary levels. Therefore, the opportunities to collaborate with SESIP are minimal. The project will engage with school development societies for conducting the community awareness campaign on the new reforms i.e. curriculum reform, assessment reform, and awareness on SMTC subjects in future.

During Project Implementation SESIP project preparation team consulted with students and parents from provinces to obtain their feedback on the program design. The program will continue to consult and strengthen participation by students, parents and their communities through the school development committees, in the development of the communication campaign and in the implementation of school development plans.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services Consultant recruitment is expected under the facility TA (TA 9956) and under a standalone TA which will be processed separately.
Procurement All procurement of goods, works and consulting services will be undertaken in accordance with the ADB Procurement Policy and Procurement Regulations for ADB Borrowers.
Responsible ADB Officer Jayasundara, Herathbanda
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Human and Social Development Division, SARD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education
Ground Floor
Isurupaya, Battaramulla
Sri Lanka
Concept Clearance 26 Nov 2019
Fact Finding 01 Jun 2020 to 18 Jun 2020
MRM 02 Oct 2020
Approval 01 Dec 2020
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 01 Dec 2020

Loan 4021-SRI

Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 3,201.30 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 400.00 - 0.00 0.00 %
Counterpart 2,801.30 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 - 0.00 0.00 %

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.

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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.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

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Related Publications

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Contracts Awarded

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Procurement Plan

None currently available.