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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Bangladesh - Primary Education Development Project Ii

1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
Project Name:
Bangladesh - Primary Education Development Project Ii
Project Costs(US $M)
 $951.00  $1065.02
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 150.00  145.3
Sector Board:
Cofinancing (US $M)
 504.00  539.72
Asian Development Bank, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), UK Department of International Development (DFID), European Commission, Government of the Netherlands, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, SIDA, JICA, UNICEF, Australian Agency for International Dvelopment (AUSAID)
Board Approval Date
Closing Date
06/30/2010 06/30/2011
Primary education (65%), Central government administration (27%), Sub-national government administration (8%)
Education for all (50% - P) Gender (25% - S) Administrative and civil service reform (25% - S)
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
Susan Ann Caceres
Judyth L. Twigg Christopher D. Gerrard IEGPS2

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:

    The objective is "to reduce poverty through universal primary education and to contribute to sustainable socio-economic development and equity as envisaged in the Millennium Development goals, through the provision of quality primary education to all children in the territory of the Borrower" (Credit Agreement, p. 20).

    The overall program objective is "to improve quality, equitable access, and efficiency in primary education through a sub-sector program approach. The program will improve the quality of teaching and learning and raise student achievement; increase access to schooling for the disadvantaged; and strengthen planning and management of primary education, including establishing a national monitoring and evaluation system for primary education" (PAD, p. 3).

    The Guidance Note (paragraph 4 Resolution of Differences) given operational staff with respect to packages submitted to the Board states that If there are differences of views between the lawyer, other reviewers, and/or the Task Team Leader as to the consistency of the project documents with the negotiated legal agreement(s), the negotiated legal agreements(s) prevail absent a reopening of negotiations to address the discrepancy. “ In this case, the objectives in the Credit Agreement are unclear about the intended outcomes and are not measurable, while the PAD clearly expressed the objectives as outcomes that could be evaluated.

    For this review, the objectives noted in the PAD will be used, given the reasons noted above.

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?

c. Components:

The project contains four components:

1. Quality Improvement through Organizational Development and Capacity Building (appraisal US$ 78.00 million; actual US$64.71 million, of which IDA provided US$13.5 million)
This component includes four subcomponents:

    • Enhance the capacity of both the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) and the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) to manage and coordinate the primary education system.
    • Enhance the capacity of the Education Management Information System (EMIS) within DPE to strengthen its information systems.
    • Enhance field capacity at divisional, district, and Upazila Levels to effectively coordinate, implement, and monitor primary education field-level activities.
    • Enhance organizational and management capacity at the school level, specifically Assistant Upazila Education Officers (AUEO), Head Teachers, teachers, and School Management Committees (SMCs), to operate effectively with support of Parent-Teacher Association (PTAs) and communities.

2. Quality Improvement in Schools and Classrooms (appraisal US$ 510.8 million; actual US$373.03 million, of which IDA provided US$76.70 million)
This component is composed of three subcomponents:
    • Improve the learning environment by establishing standards for school facilities, restructuring the curriculum, and producing and distributing textbooks.
    • Improve the quality of initial and in-service teacher training by improving capacity of the main institutions that have responsibility for training.
    • Increase community awareness to participate and support educational activities and encourage parents to participate in school management.

3. Quality Improvement through Infrastructure Development (appraisal US$ 335.37 million; actual US$599.55 million, of which IDA provided US$ 56.30 million)
This component includes improving school infrastructure and constructing and/or renovating classrooms, providing water and sanitation facilities, and constructing and/or renovating other institutions such as the Primary Teacher Training Institute, Upazila Offices and Upazila Resource Centers, MoPME, DPE, and other educational institutions.

4. Improving and Supporting Equitable Access to Quality Schooling (appraisal US$ 26.99 million; actual US$12.20 million, of which IDA provided US$ 3.50 million)
This component has two subcomponents:
    • Enhance institutional capacity of DPE at central and decentralized levels to build the capacity to accommodate and mainstream disadvantaged children, including those with special needs, within the formal primary education system.
    • Improve access for disadvantaged children to quality schooling by providing financial stipends to poorest families; providing food/dietary supplement programs; implementing strategies for mainstreaming special needs children into primary schools; providing facilities for "Baby Classes" at rural primary schools in partnership with schools and the community, to overcome the opportunity costs associated with keeping elder girl siblings at home to take care of young children by providing a preschool program; and implementing strategies to remove barriers to the full integration of special needs children into primary schools. Strategies to fully integrate special needs children include increasing public awareness, adapting physical facilities, and implementing teacher professional development.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project Costs: Total project costs were US$ 1.06 billion. In addition to the actual costs of each component noted above, PEDP II Program Management was US$15.53 million (appraisal value was US$27.68 million). According to the project team, resources from Organizational Development and Capacity Building (Component 1), Quality Improvements in Schools and Classrooms (Component 2), and Supporting Equitable Access (Component 4) were shifted to the Infrastructure Development (Component 3) to respond to: (1) an emergency cyclone that destroyed hundreds of schools, and (2) a survey that documented greater school needs than was estimated at preparation. Of the original Credit (US$150 million), the undisbursed balance after the final disbursement in October 2011 was US$13.24 million, most of which was from exchange rate gain from the weakened US dollar versus the SDR and weakened Bangladesh Taka. Taking into account the exchange rate gain, the project disbursed 91.73 percent of the planned amount (ICR, p. 9).

Financing: The Bank provided US$145.3 million. The Asian Development Bank, Canadian International Development Agency, UK Department for International Development, European Commission, Government of the Netherlands, Government of Norway, Swedish International Development Agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency, United Nations International Children's Fund, and Australian Agency for International Development provided US$ 539.72 million.

Borrower Contribution: It was anticipated that the borrower would contribute US$297 million at appraisal. Actual contributions were higher, with the government providing US$380 million to finance the stipend program.

Dates: Effectiveness began May 2004 and the project was expected to end on June 30, 2010. It closed one year later on June 30, 2011 to allow time for the Government to finish implementing activities to achieve the development objectives and facilitate a transition for the follow-up project (PEDPIII).

3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:

Substantial. The project's objectives are substantially relevant to the Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy (2011-2014), current at project closure, which has the strategic goal of improving social service delivery with an expected outcome of improved student learning based on quality education services, as well as targeted operations for reaching out-of-school children (CAS p.26, p. 28). At the time of appraisal, while it was clear that Bangladesh had made significant progress in access to primary education and improving gender parity, there still remained significant challenges with education quality and with attending to the needs of the disadvantaged. Primary school dropout rates were nearly 50%, repetition rates reached as high as 14% in some primary grades, and children from remote rural areas had limited access to schools (ICR p. 1). The project was also directly aligned with the Government's priorities as outlined in its National Plan of Education for All (2001-2015) and primary education Macro Plan, both of which aimed to tackle poverty through closing gaps in access to schooling by making education compulsory and accessible.

b. Relevance of Design:

Modest. The PAD (p. 34-38) contains a detailed Results Framework, with objectives linked to outcome indicators and components logically tied to objectives. The project focused on inputs that are necessary conditions for education quality. The project promoted equity by targeting children living in remote areas, disadvantaged children, and those with special needs. However, the Bank's Panel on Quality Enhancement Review found several design weaknesses (ICR, p. 4-5). First, there was inadequate preparation, since the accelerated approval timeline did not ensure sufficient participation of key implementing line units of the Directorate of Primary Education, as well as Ministries outside of education. Second, the design avoided difficult policy issues and so did not tackle critical policy constraints to reform. Third, the design lacked a strategy for achieving outcomes, with a large number of non-prioritized activities. Targets were not attainable during the time frame of the project.

4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

Improve quality of primary education: Substantial

Outputs related to civil works:

    • 397 Upazila Resource Centers (URC) were constructed or renovated.
    • 456 Upazila Education Offices were repaired.
    • 965 extensions to Primary Education Institutions and DPE's divisional district and Upazila levels were completed.
    • 53 Primary Teaching Institutes (PTI) had facilities extended.
    • A primary curriculum wing was constructed at the National Curriculum Textbook Board.
    • The number of new classrooms/hostels constructed was 40,870 by 2010, not meeting the target of 41,000.
    • The percentage of government primary schools having separate toilets for girls was 37% in 2010, not meeting the target of 60%. 4,746 student toilets were built.
    • The percentage of government primary schools having arsenic free water was 71% in 2010, exceeding the target of 60%.
    • The percentage of government primary schools having working tube-wells was 80% in 2010, exceeding the target of 60%. 17, 262 wells were built
    • 18,398 teachers' toilets were constructed.

Outputs related to training/professional development:
    • 45,000 newly recruited teachers received training.
    • 429,330 existing teachers received training.
    • 105,000 teachers were trained under the C-in-Ed (new preservice) program.
    • 40,000 existing head teachers received training.
    • 5,765 new head teachers received training. The ICR reported that this was 58% of all of the new head teachers hired (ICR p. 12).
    • Training of trainers for URCs and PTIs was completed.

Outputs related to curriculum development:
    • Revisions were started for the grade 1-5 curriculum to make it competency-based. This work will be completed by PEDPIII, the follow-up project.
    • 366 million textbooks were printed and distributed to schools between 2004-2011.
    • The teacher pre-service curriculum was revised.

Outputs related to investments in quality:
    • Public expenditure as a percentage of GNP was increased from 1.93% to 2.3% in 2010, not meeting the target of at least 2.8%. The ICR indicates that the Government could not reach the target due to the food crisis in 2008 and subsequent financial crisis.
    • Primary education expenditures as a percentage of total education expenditure increased from 37.11% in 2005 to 45% in 2010, meeting the target of 45%.
    • 65% of all government primary schools and registered non-government primary schools had a class size of 40 in 2010. The ICR (p. 11) indicated that this was the result of the project's provision of an additional 40,870 classrooms. The project team reported that no target was established.
    • The percentage of government primary schools operating as on a single shift model increased from 12% in 2005 to 20% in 2010, not meeting the target of 28%.
    • There was an improvement in the primary pupil-teacher ratio from 54:1 in 2005 to 46:1 in 2010 within government primary schools, meeting the target of 48:1.
    • 10,578 new teacher posts were created.
    • 14,200 new assistant posts were created.
    • 707 new officer posts for UEO Office and PTI were created.
    • 50% of newly recruited teachers had a higher academic qualification (e.g. Bachelors degree or higher).
    • The number of contact hours between students and teachers in grades 3, 4, 5 increased from 750 to 800 hours, meeting the target of 750 hours. However, the Social Sector Performance Survey revealed that primary schools on average were open 228 days rather than the official requirement of 242. The same survey also revealed that the number of contact hours between students and teachers in Grades 1 and 2 was only 456 (ICR pp. 12, 31).
    • A Cell for School Learning Improvement Plans within DPE was established, and monitoring of School Learning Improvement Plans was done in 326 out of 502 Upazilas.

    • The completion rate for Grade 5 boys and girls increased from 52% in 2005 to 60.2% in 2010, meeting the target of 55%, with a gender parity ratio of 1.
    • The Grade 5 student literacy level measured by National Assessment increased from 53% in 2002 to 69% in 2008, meeting the target of 58%. The ICR (p. v) indicates that the test instrument changed and so comparisons between years cannot be made, but the ICR points out that the final result exceeds the target.
    • The Grade 5 student numeracy level measured by National Assessment increased from 53% in 2002 to 63% in 2008, meeting the target of 57%. The ICR (p. v) indicates that the test instrument changed and so comparisons between years cannot be made, but the ICR points out that the final result exceeds the target.
    • The number of students taking part and passing the Primary Scholarship Examination (PSE) increased from 32.2% of students participating in the exam and 70.4% passing in 2006, to 32.9% of students participating in the PSE and 79.5% passing in 2007.
    • The number of students taking part and passing the National Terminal Examination (NTE), which replaced the PSE, increased from 1.82 million students taking the exam and 88.4% passing in all subjects in 2009, to 1.94 million students taking the NTE and 92.34% passing in all subjects in 2010.

Improve equitable access to primary education: Substantial


    • The Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) increased from 93.7% in 2005 to 107.7% in 2010, meeting the target of 98% with gender parity.
    • The Net Enrollment (NER) increased from 87.2% in 2005 to 94.8% in 2010, meeting the target of 90% with gender parity.
    • The number of students with disabilities attending schools increased from 8,800 in 2005 to 15,000 in 2010. The number of children with disabilities, particularly those with physical handicaps, increased (ICR p. iv).
    • The number of students receiving stipends increased from 4.3 million in 2005 to 7.9 million in 2010, meeting the target of maintaining the 2005 level.
    • The Access and Inclusive Cell was established within the DPE Policy and Operations Department.
    • The Inclusive Education Framework and Action Plans were developed by DPE.
    • DPE field offices were trained in inclusive education.
    • Pre-primary education for children 3-5 years old was provided in 26,300 primary schools under MoPME jurisdiction. The ICR (p. 15) noted that fewer than 15% of children aged 3-5 participated. The project team reported that the Ministry approved a Framework for universal pre-primary education in March 2008.
    • A food/dietary support pilot program was established by the DPE in food insecure areas and single shift schools to encourage attendance.

    • There was no difference in the 2010 net enrollment between urban/rural and boys/girls. The ICR did not provide data based on ethnicity.
    • There was a decrease in income disparity rate of enrollment. In 2005 the net enrollment rate of the two bottom income deciles was 58%, increasing to 72% in 2010, meeting the target of reduction in income disparity rate of enrollment by 10 percent in identified districts.
    • The ICR notes that implementation of the integrated approach focusing on gender, special needs/disability, and tribal and vulnerable children was rolled over to PEDPIII (p. 35).

Improve efficiency of primary education: Modest


    • The Organizational and Institutional Capacity Review was completed and approved by MoPME.
    • The Human Resource Development Paper was prepared and approved by MoPME.
    • The Organizational Development and Capacity Building Guide was prepared.
    • Annual Sector Performance Reports were published in 2009 and 2010.
    • Annual School Censuses were conducted from 2005-2010.
    • PEDPII Annual Progress Reports were produced for Joint Reviews of Government and Development Partners.
    • The percentage of School Management Committees (SMC) having at least 1 member trained was 75%, meeting the target of 50%.
    • 38% of School Management Committees (SMC) had at least 3 members trained.
    • Vacant positions at all levels were filled, but not at a level that met the target of 90% of vacancies filled by December 2009. At end of the project there was a range in the extent to which vacancies were filled, from 46% of URC Assistant Instructors positions filled to 100% of National Curriculum Textbook Board (NCTB) staff positions filled.
    • URC, DPEO field offices and the MISC were equipped with computers and intranet/internet facilities.
    • 276,500 MoPME, DPE, District, Upazila, URC, and SMC staff were trained to build capacity to devolve significant management responsibilities to decentralized levels.

    • The repetition rate for Grade 1 decreased from 12.6% for boys and 12% for girls in 2005, to 11.8% for boys and 10.9% for girls in 2010, not meeting the target of less than 10%.
    • The repetition rate for Grade 2 increased from 11.1% for boys and 10.8% for girls in 2005, to 12.4% for boys and 11.8% for girls in 2010, not meeting the target of less than 10%.
    • The repetition rate for Grade 3 increased from 13.8% for boys and 13.6% for girls in 2005, to 14.3% for boys and 13.9% for girls in 2010, not meeting the target of less than 10%
    • The repetition rate for Grade 4 increased from 11.5% for boys and 11.3% for girls in 2005, to 16.5% for boys and 16.4% for girls in 2010, not meeting the target of less than 10%.
    • The repetition rate for Grade 5 increased from 6.3% for boys and 5.2% for girls in 2005, to 6.8% for boys and 7.3% for girls in 2010, not meeting the target of less than 5%.

The ICR (p. v) notes that the increase in the number of first time school-goers may partially explain the increase in repetition rate.
    • The drop-out rate in primary education decreased from 47.2% in 2005 to 39.8% in 2010, not meeting the target of 37%.
    • The primary cycle efficiency (defined as the total number of student years divided by total number of graduates) slightly decreased from 8.1 years in 2005 to 8.0 years in 2010, not meeting the target of 7.5 years.
    • The percentage of student absenteeism for all grades of primary school decreased from 22% in 2005 to 16.6% in 2010, meeting the target of 18%.

5. Efficiency:

Substantial: The PAD computed the Internal Economic Rate of Return to be 13.9%. Sensitivity analysis using different assumptions of the external and internal efficiency of the system indicated that the rate of return could vary between six and 21 percent. The analysis also demonstrated that the proportion of public expenditures targeted to the poor would increased from 56% to nearly 67% at the end of the program (PAD, pp. 20, 58). The assumptions and methodology utilized were appropriate; however, there was no specification of the benefits, making it impossible to analyze the calculations.

The ICR presents a retrospective assessment of benefits and costs associated with the project. The internal rate of return is 23%, and the net present value of economic benefits is US$ 5.47 billion. The Government has committed to providing resources to accommodate increases in primary education spending. The ICR also reported that the project attained cost-effectiveness in the large-scale production and distribution of textbooks, since a 35% cost reduction was realized (ICR, p. 18). The assumptions and methodology utilized were appropriate.

The ICR also reports that, as a result of the eleven development partners harmonizing their efforts, transaction costs for the Government were reduced. Instead of managing 32 discrete projects and responding to different agendas of separate development agencies, the Government only had to manage one program, with components that had been aligned by the partners (ICR, p. 20). Thus, with donor harmonization, the Government was able to obtain more efficiency and value for money.

a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:

Rate Available?
Point Value
ICR estimate:

* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated

6. Outcome:

The project's objectives were substantially relevant, while there was modest relevance of design. With the economic analysis and cost-efficiency in producing textbooks, the project was able to demonstrate substantial value for money. There was substantial achievement of two of the objectives, and modest attainment of the other objective. The project was able to implement a number of activities that will have far reaching effects in Bangladesh: the stipend program contributed to increased enrollment of children from disadvantaged families, and additional schools/classrooms were constructed that have provided access to more children.

a. Outcome Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

The government has a strong commitment to education, and donors continue to be committed. However, there are a number of significant risks to development. The primary education budget is highly dependent upon donor financing. There are low levels of institutional capacity, particularly as a result of the redeployment to other Ministry Departments at the end of the project of a large number of the senior staff who participated in overseas professional development. The constant redeployment of staff makes it difficult to build and sustain capacity. This is not unique to the Ministry of Education, but is a part of the broader government system. The M&E division has not been able to institutionalize a robust system and lacks the personnel with skills to produce in-depth analysis of education data. The constant redeployment of staff and shortage of skilled staff make resolution of this issue challenging. There continue to be inefficiencies in the education system, making it difficult to improve education quality.

a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Significant

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:

By the time the Bank became involved in the project, most of the parameters had already been established (e.g. design, components, objectives, architecture, and implementation management). The Bank's senior management decided to align with the sub-sector SWAP and speed preparation and Board approval, despite the design weaknesses noted by the Bank's QER Review Panel (see Section 3b for weaknesses noted by the QER). As a result, there was inadequate policy dialogue during preparation to bring ownership of outside Ministries, who were needed for adoption of some of the project's planned interventions. As noted by the ICR (p. 4), "given the importance of harmonization, all aspects of the PEDPII design were not fully resolved before the project launched," which may have contributed to the initial implementation shortcomings. There were inconsistency in the statement of objectives between the Credit Agreement and the Project Appraisal Document.

Quality-at-Entry Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

b. Quality of supervision:

Bank staff worked with the lead agency and other partners to advance the aims of donor harmonization and achieve the objectives of the project. Bank staff pressed the partners on issues related to monitoring and evaluation, procurement, financial audit reports, and safeguard compliance. Even though the Bank was not the lead donor, Bank staff provided additional monitoring of safeguard issues, and financial/procurement management. The Bank team made efforts to build DPE capacity. It played a large role during the midterm review to arrive at consensus between partners and the Government, which laid the foundation for the productive final years of the project. Despite the inconsistencies between the statement of objectives between the Credit Agreement and the Project Appraisal Document, there was no restructuring to align them.

Quality of Supervision Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

Overall Bank Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

a. Government Performance:

The Government exhibited financial commitment to primary education, providing the implementing agencies with the financial support to implement the project. It transferred administration officials and 8,975 teachers from the PEDPI budget to its budget in April 2005. When collusive practices were found in 15 contract packages for civil works, the government through MoPME stated that there was no tolerance for any irregularity regarding procurement. The government sanctioned contractors involved in collusive practices. However, there were weaknesses in its performance. The government did not facilitate agreement among ministries, as was needed to get the decentralization plan approved by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Public Administration, and MoPME. The government only partially satisfied its condition for extending PEDPII’s closing date, when it filled only 67% of field-level vacancies, rather than the stipulated 80% of positions.

Government Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

b. Implementing Agency Performance:

At the start of the project a program coordination unit (PCU) was created. The pace of implementation was weak until the mid term review. As noted by the ICR, "the complexity of the intricate, interlocking program management structure with different levels and areas of decision making was not conducive to speedy implementation of project activities in the initial phase" (p. 6). After three years, full responsibility for implementation and coordination was transferred to a new Joint Program Director within the DPE, and the PCU was dissolved. Implementation was slow during the transition, but gained momentum during the final two years of the project. When water testing in schools revealed concerns, the DPE and LGED provided the School Management Committees with training, guidelines, and resources to monitor the sanitation and hygiene of the toilets, classrooms, and sources of drinking water. However, the ICR indicated that water quality was not monitored on a regular basis (ICR p.33). Frequent staff transfers impacted efforts to build capacity of the Ministry. School Learning Improvement Plans were not monitored in every Upazila (ICR, p. 17). There were qualified audit observations, but all issues were resolved. A post procurement audit found inappropriate tendering and collusive practices in civil works contracts.

Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

10. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

a. M&E Design:

The need for strong M&E was emphasized in the Macro Plan for the project. The PAD contained a detailed Results Framework, with objectives linked to outcome indicators and components logically tied to objectives. Original indicators were set without baseline data and without understanding of field realities. There were no output indicators related to the nutrition program. Thus, there was not systematic tracking of the coverage and costs of the nutrition program.

b. M&E Implementation:

M&E capacity was low, and so technical assistance was given. The Swedish International Development Agency provided support with a team of international and national consultants to help DPE line managers focus on results. Field staff were trained in collecting, checking and collating school census data. After the Baseline Survey of 2005 and Annual School Census Report, the performance targets were adjusted to become more realistic. While the project had planned to track the delivery of textbooks to ensure timeliness, there was no computerized database to track and record the dates on which textbooks were received at the school level.

By 2010, there was an M&E infrastructure among the Divisions, Districts, and Upazilas, with 481 data operators posted at Upazila Education Offices and 18 in Divisions. Skill gaps in personnel were a key factor in the project's inability to institutionalize a robust M&E system to support the MoPME /DPE. Despite efforts, a complete data base management system is still lacking. Questions about the role and functions of the DPE's M&E Division and the National Assessment Cell remain in relation to responsibilities for monitoring student learning and education quality interventions.

Notable achievements included: the 2008 National Student Assessment (NSA) with support and regular publication of the Annual Sector Performance Report, Annual School Census reports, and a database on children with special needs (containing information about in school and out-of-school children).

a. M&E Utilization:

Data on the project's key performance indicators and primary school quality level (PSQL) were presented without in-depth analysis of trends. The ICR indicates that Ministry data improved, since it was more consistent with Household Surveys (ICR, p. 7).

M&E Quality Rating: Substantial

11. Other Issues:

a. Safeguards:

Two safeguard policies were triggered: Environmental Assessment (OP 4.01) and Indigenous Peoples (OD 4.20). The project was classified Environment Category B and Safeguard Category 2, according to project documents. The PAD noted that plans were developed by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education to address both of these issues (PAD, p. 27). Environmental assessments were carried out for construction activities. Testing revealed "concentration of arsenic in 42% of tube wells immediately after their installation" (ICR, p. 33). DPE and LGED provided the SMCs with training, guidelines, and resources to monitor the sanitation and hygiene of the toilets, classrooms and sources of drinking water. The ICR indicates that there was no regular monitoring of water quality, and "there was little progress in providing alternative water supply options in cases of arsenic affected tube-wells" (p.33). However, the project team reported that alternatives were adopted, including rain water capture and closing of wells with high levels of arsenic. The project team indicated that monitoring of compliance with safeguard protections was done by the Bank team, as well as by the lead donor agency, Asian Development Bank. For example, the Bank required an annual cross-check in a reference lab from a 5% sample of tube-wells in any Upazilla showing arsenic problems in more than 60% of tube-wells. This was an additional mitigation measure put in place by the Bank. The project team also reported that a database was maintained with the water quality test results. The project team reported that the Borrower complied with environmental safeguard policies.

b. Fiduciary Compliance:

Development partners monitored procurement and financial management through a high-level joint Government and Development Partners Working Group. MoPME/DPE strengthened financial systems by introducing standardized financial management procedures for the project, while reducing the number of reporting processes in the reporting system. There was delay in consolidating documents from field offices and reconciliations. The project team reported that all qualified audit observations were resolved. There was a post procurement audit for FY2003-2004 and FY2004-2005, which found inappropriate tendering and collusive practices in 15 of 17 contract packages for civil works. These contracts were cancelled and appropriate sanctions against the contractors were carried out. IDA cancelled its share that had already been disbursed against the 15 contracts (US$130,142).

c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):
None listed in the ICR.

d. Other:

Donor harmonization resulted in reduced transaction costs for the Government. Instead of managing 32 discrete projects and responding to varying development partner agendas, the Government managed one program in which the partners were aligned.

12. Ratings:

IEG Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
Risk to Development Outcome:
Bank Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
Borrower Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
Quality of ICR:
- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- The "Reason for Disagreement/Comments" column could cross-reference other sections of the ICR Review, as appropriate.

13. Lessons:

The ICR included the following lessons:
    • Using a government's system for project monitoring, requires a robust M&E system. A stronger emphasis needs to be placed on bolstering the technical capacity of the Ministry related to M&E. During the early phases of this project, it was difficult to obtain reports. Reports during the early phase of this project focused on progress of activities, not progress in relation to reforms and outcomes.
    • There are many benefits to the government and development partners from donor-harmonization with a sub-sector approach. In this project the integrated approach used by all eleven development partners reduced transaction costs for the government. Moreover, having a more harmonized implementation and monitoring arrangement created a coordinated and focused effort among donors.

14. Assessment Recommended?

The project provides many lessons in building ministry and lower level capacity, large-scale hiring of teachers, and production of textbooks. Moreover, it is an example of the benefits that can be attained from donor harmonization. It would be instructive to examine the services and benefits provided through the Framework for Pre-Primary Education.

15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR presents the evidence concisely and comprehensively. It provides additional data outside of key performance indicators to demonstrate achievement of objectives, and it provides a good description of implementation experience and shortcomings. It would have been beneficial if the additional information related to donor harmonization and to safeguard compliance shared by the project team had been contained in the report, as well as the safeguard classification and triggered policies. The ICR does not discuss compliance with the Indigenous Peoples policy, which was also triggered.

a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

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