Preparing the Upper Secondary Education Sector Development Program (USEDP) (TA 8573-CAM)

Name of Client:
Asian Development Bank (ADB)


Length of Consultancy Assignment:
Start Date:  7 September 2015
Completion Date:  31 January 2017

Detailed Narrative Description of Project:

The PPTA prepared the design of a sector development program (SDP) suitable for ADB financing, taking into consideration the needs of the country and ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with Cambodia. The impact of the proposed USESDP will be high-quality human resources developed, which will result in a knowledge-based society within Cambodia. Its outcome will be effectiveness of the USE system improved. The outputs of the program will be: (i) Output 1: Access to USE, particularly for children from educationally disadvantaged areas, improved; (ii) Output 2: quality and relevance of USE, particularly in science, math, and ICT education improved; and (iii) Output 3: Institutional capacity for planning, management, and delivery of education strengthened. Output 1 will aim to increase enrolments and reduce dropouts and repetitions at the upper secondary level by increasing the number of educational facilities offering USE in disadvantaged provinces, providing scholarships to outstanding science students in USE, and improving deployment of teachers in disadvantaged provinces and in schools with a shortage of teachers. Output 2 will improve the quality and relevance of USE by improving the quality and availability of textbooks and teacher guides; aligning the science, math, and ICT curriculum with international standards; improving the quality of science, math, and ICT teachers; and upgrading upper secondary schools to special resource schools. Output 3 will strengthen the institutional capacity for planning, management, and delivery of education by strengthening monitoring and evaluation (M&E), strengthening the education management information system (EMIS), improving school management, and providing selected schools with school improvement funds. USESDP will also support the implementation of policy reforms in the sector on a nationwide scale, but many of the project investments will be undertaken in seven disadvantaged provinces. The project loan activities will be closely aligned with the policy components and will aim to improve the overall efficiency of secondary education and to strengthen science, math, and ICT education at the upper secondary level.

PRIMEX, as the lead firm, was contractually responsible to ADB for the implementation of the PPTA and the delivery of the Final Project Proposal, in the form of the RRP, for approval by the ADB Board of Directors. In the first phase of the TA, the Team undertook the following main activities: (i) rapid review and analysis of the current situation in the Cambodian SE subsector, particularly in USE; (ii) assessment of key challenges and opportunities to provide the basis for project preparation, including problem, objectives, and alternatives analyses; (iii) identification of policy constraints in USE, which could be addressed through policy reforms to be implemented in the ensuing SDP; and (iv) development of the project DMF and preparation of project outline for detailed study in the next phase of the PPTA. In Phase II, the Team prepared the design of the SDP consisting of an Investment Component and a Policy Component, each to be financed by an Investment Loan or Project Loan and a Policy Loan, respectively. The Investment Component was designed to support policy reform actions, and the Policy Component will, in turn, support national implementation of the identified policy reforms. The preparation of the Project Loan involved the following: (i) design of outputs, sub-outputs, and activities; (ii) feasibility-level analysis of the technical, organizational, and economic and financial viability of the proposed Investment Component; and (iii) preparation of necessary social safeguards for the Investment Component. Policy loan preparation mainly involved the preparation of a policy matrix and conduct of policy dialogue with senior officials of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport (MOEYS) and other decision makers on policy reforms needed and corresponding policy actions. In the last phase of the TA, the Team prepared the draft Report and Recommendations of the President to the Board of Directors (RRP) and linked documents including the Project Administration Manual (PAM) and supplementary documents.

To lead the implementation of the above activities, PRIMEX fielded seven international specialists in the fields of secondary education improvement, science and math education, education economics, program financing, ICT for education, employability skills, gender and poverty, and resettlement.