Georgia : Improving Learning Outcomes in Secondary Education Sector Development Program

Sovereign Project | 54296-001

The program is aligned with the following impact: individuals reach their full potential and contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of Georgia as a sustainable knowledge-based society (footnote 14). The outcome will be secondary education system better equips the country's youth with the core competencies to succeed in post- secondary education and higher-productivity jobs of the future. The policy component of the sector development program (SDP) will adopt a tranche-based approach to enable strategically sequenced reforms and sustainable results relating to school autonomy and excellence, school and teacher management, modern curriculum implementation, examination and assessment that meets international standards, and cost-effective sector management. Policy actions under tranche 2 build on tranche 1 reforms and ensure their implementation. Each program output will have policy reform and investment components reinforcing each other.

Project Details

Project Name Improving Learning Outcomes in Secondary Education Sector Development Program
Project Number 54296-001
Country / Economy Georgia
Project Status Proposed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan: Improving Learning Outcomes in Secondary Education Sector Development Program
Ordinary capital resources US$ 100.00 million
Ordinary capital resources US$ 50.00 million
Operational Priorities OP1: Addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities
OP2: Accelerating progress in gender equality
OP3: Tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability
OP6: Strengthening governance and institutional capacity
Sector / Subsector

Education / Education sector development - Secondary

Gender Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The program is aligned with the following impact: individuals reach their full potential and contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of Georgia as a sustainable knowledge-based society (footnote 14). The outcome will be secondary education system better equips the country's youth with the core competencies to succeed in post- secondary education and higher-productivity jobs of the future. The policy component of the sector development program (SDP) will adopt a tranche-based approach to enable strategically sequenced reforms and sustainable results relating to school autonomy and excellence, school and teacher management, modern curriculum implementation, examination and assessment that meets international standards, and cost-effective sector management. Policy actions under tranche 2 build on tranche 1 reforms and ensure their implementation. Each program output will have policy reform and investment components reinforcing each other.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Georgia's economy grew steadily from 20152020 with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita increasing at an average annual rate of 4.1%. The share of the population living in absolute poverty (less than $1.9 a day) has remained below 5% since 2014. However, unemployment rates are high especially among youth (41% among 2024 year-olds in 2021). The share of low-productivity and low-value addition employment remains high (more than 50%, including 40% in agriculture). The Georgian economy has been resilient to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The government's prompt policy response successfully stabilized the financial system and aided a robust recovery in 2021. As of mid-2022, Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a positive shock to the economy, with strong foreign inflows spurring growth and narrowing the current account deficit despite inflation spiking. Growth projections for 2022 have been revised upward to 7% from 3.5%, and growth of at least 5% is forecast in 2023. The macroeconomic framework remains satisfactory, which guides the medium-term fiscal strategy, and the central government debt remains sustainable.

Georgia has reached a near-universal participation in primary and lower secondary education, and has a strong culture of pursuing higher education. However, the secondary education system is not equipping the country's youth with the core competencies to succeed in post-secondary education or higher-productivity jobs. The majority of youth leave school without mastering the basic competencies for life and work. While schooling is 12 years, learning-adjusted years of basic education in Georgia in 2020 was only 8.3 compared to 9.9 for Eastern Europe. Georgian students perform poorly in international student learning assessments: Georgia was ranked 70th out of 78 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)-participating countries in 2018, and has one of the highest percentages of low performers (in mathematics, reading and science). While lower secondary graduation rates average 98%, upper secondary graduation rates are only 78% for boys and 85% for girls. Completion of the full secondary education (SE) cycle is crucial for improving labor market and earning outcomes. Hence the country needs to enhance access to and quality of education in upper secondary grades (1012). Only about 2% of students enroll in vocational education after grade 9, and 63% of grade 12 graduates continue to higher education. About 27% of youth (same rate for girls and boys) were not in employment, education or training in 2021. Education spending was 3.8% of GDP compared to 4.4% on average in upper middle-income countries UMICs.

Government's education reform agenda. Developing human capital is a high priority for the government and enhancing the quality of general education is a key objective of Georgia's national program for 20212024 Towards Building a European State. The National Education and Science Strategy of Georgia, 20222032 lays out a reform program to enhance quality, equity, and governance in education. It pays special attention to ensuring the quality, accessibility and continuity of education leading to higher general education completion, with a smooth transition of graduates to higher education and higher productivity jobs. The newly approved 3rd generation curriculum provides for greater academic freedom both for schools and students in designing their learning paths. Schools are expected to exercise the creative freedom' to elaborate their own academic plans and profiles, select instructional materials and lesson hour distribution, and to engage in learning assessment and evaluation. While the government has gradually implemented the new curriculum in basic and lower secondary grades, it has yet to roll it out for upper secondary grades. This requires a composite plan for improved textbooks and learning materials and design and delivery of modern elective courses to ensure that upper secondary graduates have future-ready competencies, including digital skills.

Inefficient school system. The location of schools across the country has not been adjusted to match rapid urbanization. Both under- and over-population in schools contribute to inefficient administration and ineffective delivery of education. Many schools need rehabilitation or complete infrastructural replacement, and a large number of small schools makes it cost-prohibitive to upgrade all. The country needs a new model of public schools in which schools are optimally located and sized to match regional education needs and have adequate infrastructure, including IT-resources and teacher resources, to implement the new curriculum.

Ineffective school funding model. The current school funding model comprising (i) student vouchers, (ii) needs-based allocations, and (iii) eligible supplementary financing requires revision. It does not ensure sufficient and equitable funding of schools, support school financial autonomy or efficient school governance, or factor in the higher cost of SE. The model does not provide predictable funding or incentivize better teacher performance, which are important for successful implementation of the 3rd generation curriculum, especially in USE. Combined with the issue of numerous small schools this funding model is neither cost-effective nor conducive to achieving higher learning outcomes.

Low quality of teaching. The teacher salary scheme makes teaching part-time more attractive than full-time, and salary is not based on teaching hours or quality of instruction. As a result, only about 1% of teachers are full-time, the majority are at the lowest level of the national professional development and career advancement scheme, and about 10% do not meet official competency standards. The average student-teacher ratio is 4:1 compared to 12:1 in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Professional development of teachers currently happens in a disorganized and disconnected manner, responding to temporary initiatives rather than guided by a plan for systematic change.

Insufficient assessment system. There is no national student assessment system to track student learning achievements, inform quality improvements, and effectively guide students' development pathway. Georgia made a bold move in 2015 to abolish the high-stake USE exit examination which was one of the causes of high dropouts after grade 9. It is yet to be replaced by a robust learning assessment system that can provide consistent and comparable analysis of student learning performance across schools, regions, and country and over time. The National Unified Entrance Examination, which is the sole determinant of whether a student will be admitted to a university in Georgia and offered a state scholarship, is in dire need of reform to inform equitable access of students to higher education.

Equity and inclusion issues. While girls outperform boys consistently in all subjects, they are under-represented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields in general education, higher education and professions, and have lower labor market outcomes than boys. SE completion rates and learning outcomes are lowest for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and minority groups, especially those from immigrant groups. For the latter, the performance differential is one of the largest among PISA-participating countries. Little of the existing curriculum and teacher resources is adapted to students from linguistic minority groups or with special educational needs. The majority of students with disabilities are enrolled in public schools, few of which are fully adapted to their needs. The design of the university admission and student financial support systems pose a barrier to accessing post-secondary education for students from poor households, perpetuating a cycle of inequality.

Impact

Prospects for individuals to reach their full potential and contribute to the social, economic, and cultural development of Georgia as a sustainable knowledge-based society and strong civil society enhanced (National Unified Strategy for Education and Science of Georgia, 20222032)

Outcome

Secondary education system better equips the country's youth with the core competencies to succeed in post-secondary education and higher-productivity jobs of the future.

Outputs

Equitable access to high-quality and diversified secondary education enhanced

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
During Project Implementation
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services ADB will recruit both a consulting firm and individual consultants to implement the TA. About 47 person-months of consulting services are required, of which 32 are international and 15 are national. The individual consultants are expected to be engaged ahead of the consulting firm to achieve project high readiness. ADB may also recruit additional technical consultants and resource persons in specialized areas such as demography and upper secondary school facility design and to provide analytical and capacity-building support. The consultants will procure goods, as applicable. ADB will engage consultants and procure goods for consultants' use during transaction TA implementation following the ADB Procurement Policy - Goods, Works, Non-consulting and Consulting Services (2017, as amended from time to time) and its associated staff instructions
Responsible ADB Officer Razaev, Mamatkalil
Responsible ADB Department Sectors Group
Responsible ADB Division Human and Social Development Sector Office (SG-HSD)
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport (MOESCS)
Ministry of Finance
Timetable
Concept Clearance 21 Oct 2022
Fact Finding 24 Jun 2024 to 28 Jun 2024
MRM -
Approval -
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 21 Oct 2022

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Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

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Related Publications

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Tenders

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Contracts Awarded

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Procurement Plan

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