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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Education Modernization Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Education Modernization Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 18.43  6.05
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 14.39  5.76
Sector, Major Sect.:
Central government administration, Sub-national government administration, Primary education, Secondary education, Tertiary education,
Law and justice and public administration; Law and justice and public administration; Education; Education; Education
Cofinancing (US $M)
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
03/31/2004 03/31/2004
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Helen Abadzi
Fernando Manibog Alain A. Barbu OEDSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The Education Modernization Project in Bulgaria was to (a) enhance the quality of teaching and learning in the country ' s general primary and secondary schools, (b) making more efficient the use of physical, financial, and human resources in primary and secondary schools, (c) enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in higher education institutions, and (d) making more efficient the use of physical, financial, and human resources in higher education institutions.

b. Components
Components aimed to (a) improve the quality of teaching, and learning in general education, through the introduction of new standards-based curriculum, and the creation of student assessments, evaluation systems instruments, and developing demand-driven in-service teacher training to improve national capacity (US$5.22 million at appraisal, US$1.15 million actual); (b) improve resource management in general education, by extending the Delegated Budget Program by the year 2009, by strengthening the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) capacity to assist municipalities in optimizing schools, and, by establishing a new education management information system, to provide policymakers with information on the state, and progress of the education system (US$6.13 million at appraisal, US$0.88 million actual; (c) improve resource allocation to higher education institutions, through a reform process, and through the establishment of a national education management information systems US$0.45 million at appraisal, US$0.16 million actual); (d) establish a student loan program, and redesign the current stipend system (US$0.23 million at appraisal, US$0.03 million actual); (e) establish a competitive teaching, and management system for higher education, to improve the quality of the country ' s higher education institutions, including their internal management structures (US$5.59 million at appraisal, US$3.39 million actual); and, (f) strengthen MES capacity regarding project management, and communication, to better coordinate the implementation of higher education sub-components (US$0.67 million at appraisal, US$0.35 million actual).

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
The project closed as expected but disbursements were limited; by project closing, the Bank had disbursed US$5.76 million and the borrower had disbursed US$0.57 million. The remainder, US$8.2 million, was cancelled at closing.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Most of the objectives were not achieved due to major shortcomings (see Section 5). The only component with any noteworthy achievement is as follows:

- Learning quality in higher education institutions - satisfactory. A center responsible for managing training activities for professors was established and functioned effectively.
Otherwise, achievement of the other objectives was mostly unsatisfactory:
- Learning quality in primary and secondary schools - unsatisfactory. Technical equipment and furniture were procured for the curriculum resource center. An assessment unit started performing testing functions after project closing. But the cascade-type practical knowledge seminars that were carried out for educators covered only 60% of the grades 1-12 teachers.
- Resource management in primary and secondary education - unsatisfactory. A delegated budget system was established in 37 municipalities and 660 schools, but relevant and contradictory legislative issues were not resolved.
- Resource management in higher education - unsatisfactory. A resource allocation committee was established, but it did not act as an independent body, and allocations to various institutions did not become more efficient or more equitable.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The project laid the basis for several systems and processes aimed at improving quality and efficiency in the sector, but these systems may become operational after the life of the project and in a longer timeframe.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

Most of the planned activities did not take place. A curriculum council was appointed late and met infrequently, so no curriculum development took place in primary and secondary education. Lack of leadership greatly delayed a new examination system. Teacher training activities were duplicated due to a lack of coordination between local authorities and the Ministry of Education. Research studies were not carried out, nor were stakeholders consulted regarding expected project benefits. Necessary legislation was not enacted, and a management information system was not implemented during the life of the project. No separate loan agency was established to manage student loans. Multiple ministerial changes and extensive staff turnover delayed important decisions. The project coordination unit had limited capacity to manage this far-reaching project. Responsibilities for particular tasks were unclear.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
Borrower Perf.:
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

- When difficult and extensive sectoral objectives are to be achieved, an APL with a brief timeline for each phase may be insufficient. A programmatic approach may give governments more time to carry out the complex actions necessary.
- A realistic assessment of a borrower's implementation capacity and ability to use procurement and financial reporting guidelines facilitates the formulation of a proper design and reduces the risk of exceedingly ambitious objectives that cannot be met.
- Assigning clear responsibilities, giving authority, and making staff accountable for results would help promote implementation, increase ownership and facilitate the attainment of objectives.

8. Audit Recommended?  No


9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR is thorough and provides an insightful discussion of the project's problems and contributing factors (however, loan amount is written as US$14.04 and US$14.39 in different places).

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