Sri Lanka : Supporting Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program
The proposed technical assistance (TA) for SESIP will provide capacity building and implementation support for smooth implementation of the government's systemic and transformational reform agenda. It will also support medium- to long-term efforts in building the capacity in the education sector to respond quickly and flexibly to similar emergencies in the future, similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the RBL program supports systemwide reforms in the education sector, it will focus on 750 schools, of which 80% are provincial schools. By 2026, reforms supported by the program will benefit about 953,000 students (503,000 females and 450,000 males) annually. The program will also have equipped 47,853 teachers (31,583 women and 16,270 men) with skills that will benefit successive generations of students. Given the ambitious reforms proposed in the RBL, the government requested for dedicated resources to finance critical technical inputs to support reform initiatives.
Hoque, Uzma S.
South Asia Department
Request for information
|Project Name||Supporting Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program|
|Country / Economy||Sri Lanka
|Project Type / Modality of Assistance||Technical Assistance
|Source of Funding / Amount||
|Operational Priorities||OP1: Addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities
OP2: Accelerating progress in gender equality
OP6: Strengthening governance and institutional capacity
|Sector / Subsector||
Education / Secondary
|Gender||Effective gender mainstreaming|
|Description||The proposed technical assistance (TA) for SESIP will provide capacity building and implementation support for smooth implementation of the government's systemic and transformational reform agenda. It will also support medium- to long-term efforts in building the capacity in the education sector to respond quickly and flexibly to similar emergencies in the future, similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the RBL program supports systemwide reforms in the education sector, it will focus on 750 schools, of which 80% are provincial schools. By 2026, reforms supported by the program will benefit about 953,000 students (503,000 females and 450,000 males) annually. The program will also have equipped 47,853 teachers (31,583 women and 16,270 men) with skills that will benefit successive generations of students. Given the ambitious reforms proposed in the RBL, the government requested for dedicated resources to finance critical technical inputs to support reform initiatives. The TA will address quality and equity issues and will provide the much-needed expertise to adequately respond to the current education sector challenges. The TA will ensure prioritization of the key reforms and achievement of the program's intended results areas in a smooth and timely manner. As program systems are used to implement the RBL program, and reforms are implemented by government staff, the TA will be used to strengthen RBL program systems and capacity, enhance sustainability, and institutionalize good practices.|
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy||
In 2019, Sri Lanka was classified as a lower middle-income economy with a per capita income of $4,020, just under the upper middle-income category of $4,046. It faces macroeconomic challenges, with growth at an 18-year low (2.3% in 2019) and a budget deficit of 7.9% of gross domestic product (GDP). COVID-19 has exacerbated these challenges. Its impact is expected to contract GDP by 3.2-4.7% in 2020, disrupt labor markets, increase the deficit to over 10% of GDP, and sharply increase poverty. The government has so far contained the outbreak, with 2,511 confirmed cumulative cases and 11 deaths as of 12 July 2020.
Compared with other middle-income countries, Sri Lanka ranks high in access to primary and secondary education with gender parity at both levels. Despite high access, improving quality and labor market relevance of secondary education is a key issue. There is a mismatch between the graduates that the education system is producing and the needs of the labor market. Sri Lanka faces a shortage of trained workers. The unemployment rates among youth (21%) and women (7%) are higher than the national average of 4%. The percentage of youth not in employment, education, or training is 22% (29% for females, 14% for males).
Secondary education should play a key role in building the pipeline for post-secondary education and the labor market, but the Sri Lankan secondary education faces several challenges. One key challenge is the limited and inequitable access to STMC subjects in senior secondary schools. Only about a third of senior secondary students were enrolled in science and technology streams in 2018. This means that secondary education is not building a foundation in science and technology which form the basis of modern jobs. Inadequate quality and relevance of education also pose significant challenges. Secondary education learning outcomes are poor. The curricula are generally heavy on content and lack an inquiry-based approach and practical applications. Inadequate quality of teaching contributes to poor learning outcomes. The assessment system relies solely on high-stakes testing, associated with information recall, rather than analysis and problem-solving. Secondary education is not producing graduates with critical thinking, problem-solving, team work and communication skills that are needed to survive and thrive in the modern economy. The third key challenge includes the need to strengthen educational leadership and sector management capacity.
The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted education delivery. Over 5.57 million learners have been affected by school and university closures across the country, of which 2.73 million are at secondary level. To minimize learning disruptions, the government has prepared a CERP for general education and employed e-learning platforms and/or classes through television. However, not all children and teachers have access to the devices, digital-based learning platforms, and connectivity required for distance education. Only 34.1% of Sri Lanka's population (ages 5-69 years) are able to use the internet. Many teachers lack practical experience in using such approaches effectively. Thus, the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing challenges in education, including low learning outcomes and rural-urban inequity. The loss of learning will delay children's attainment of age-appropriate learning competencies, and as children are unable to keep pace with learning, more dropouts are likely.
|Description of Outcome|
|Progress Toward Outcome|
|Description of Project Outputs|
|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)|
|Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects|
|Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation|
|During Project Design|
|During Project Implementation|
|Consulting Services||ADB will engage the consultants following the ADB Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time) and its associated project administration instructions and/or staff instructions|
|Responsible ADB Officer||Hoque, Uzma S.|
|Responsible ADB Department||South Asia Department|
|Responsible ADB Division||Human and Social Development Division, SARD|
Ministry of Education
|Approval||15 Jan 2021|
|Last Review Mission||-|
|Last PDS Update||14 Dec 2022|
|Approval||Signing Date||Effectivity Date||Closing|
|15 Jan 2021||22 Jan 2021||22 Jan 2021||31 Oct 2023||31 Oct 2024||-|
|Financing Plan/TA Utilization||Cumulative Disbursements|
|0.00||2,000,000.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||2,000,000.00||07 Jul 2022||697,457.00|
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|Title||Document Type||Document Date|
|Supporting Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program: Technical Assistance Report||Technical Assistance Reports||Jan 2021|
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
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|Tender Title||Type||Status||Posting Date||Deadline|
|Improvement of Secondary School STEM and Commerce Learning Outcomes||Firm - Consulting||Closed|
|Contract Title||Approval Number||Contract Date||Contractor | Address||Executing Agency||Total Contract Amount (US$)||Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)|
|Capacity Development||Technical Assistance 6713||08 Jun 2021||Univ.of Helsinki Ctr. for Continuing Educ. HY+ Ltd in association with University of Turku | Fabianinkatu 32 Helsinki 000014 Finland||Ministry of Education||1,898,832.00||—|
None currently available.