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Sri Lanka: Supporting Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program

Sovereign (Public) Project | 52203-002 Status: Active

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.

Project Details

Project Officer
Hoque, Uzma S. South Asia Department Request for information
Country
  • Sri Lanka
Sector
  • Education
 
Project Name Supporting Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program
Project Number 52203-002
Country Sri Lanka
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 6713-SRI: Supporting Secondary Education Sector Improvement Program
Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction US$ 2.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Partnerships
Sector / Subsector

Education / Secondary

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming 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.

Impact
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs
Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Nation-wide
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Business Opportunities
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
Procurement Not applicable
Responsible ADB Officer Hoque, Uzma S.
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
Timetable
Concept Clearance -
Fact Finding -
MRM -
Approval 15 Jan 2021
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 15 Jan 2021

TA 6713-SRI

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
15 Jan 2021 22 Jan 2021 22 Jan 2021 31 Oct 2023 - -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
0.00 2,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2,000,000.00 15 Jan 2021 0.00

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Related Publications

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Tenders

Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Improvement of Secondary School STEM and Commerce Learning Outcomes Firm - Consulting Closed 27 Jan 2021 10 Feb 2021

Contracts Awarded

No contracts awarded for this project were found

Procurement Plan

None currently available.