|1. Project Data:
ICR Review Date Posted:
|Kh-cambodia Education Sector Support
Project Costs(US $M)
Loan/Credit (US $M)
Cofinancing (US $M)
Board Approval Date
|Secondary education (45%), Other social services (25%), Primary education (14%), General public administration sector (9%), Tertiary education (7%)|
|Education for all (33% - P)
Indigenous peoples (17% - S)
Gender (17% - S)
Social safety nets (17% - S)
Decentralization (16% - S)|
||ICR Review Coordinator:
|Susan Ann Caceres
||George T. K. Pitman
|2. Project Objectives and Components:|
The Education Sector Support Program (ESSP) provided the overarching framework for the development and implementation of the Cambodia Education Sector Support Project under Review. The Program is a sector-wide approach to education planning and development, which identifies specific actions to achieve the sector objectives. This program is reviewed jointly by all education partners (Government, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations).
According to the Project Appraisal Document (PAD) (p. ii and 2) the objective of the project is to assist the Borrower to implement its Education Sector Support Program goals: "to expand access to education services by addressing supply, demand, quality and efficiency constraints, with special focus on the poor and underserved communes.”
The Financing Agreement (p. 16) states the objective is "to enhance access to education services, with special focus on the poor and underserved communes."
This Review uses the objective given in Project Appraisal Document, since it is clear and monitorable.
b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
There are three components:
1. Enabling Equitable Access to Education (appraisal US$18.95 million; actual US$17.1 million) was composed of two sub-components:
- Expanding educational facilities in poor and underserved areas to provide lower secondary schools in communes without them, prioritizing areas with the highest poverty incidence level. Where needed and cost-effective, it was to finish incomplete primary schools including construction of latrines and wells, and provide school furniture, a basic set of educational materials, library books, and relevant instructional equipment.
- Reducing access barriers for disadvantaged children. This was to foster universal basic education, especially for poor girls and ethnic minority children. Children in each school were to be selected on the basis of an index developed to identify students at risk of dropping out, with a greater weighting for girls. Scholarships were to be provided for children who score higher on a Drop-out-Risk index and those with higher scores were to receive a larger scholarship. A rigorous ex ante evaluation was to be conducted to compare the differential impact of scholarships across groups of students.
2. Supporting Education Quality Improvements (appraisal US$ 5.27 million; actual US$5.1 million) was composed of two sub-components:
- Strengthening decentralized quality education service delivery to focus on decentralized quality improvement to encourage right-age enrollment, foster promotion of students in lower primary, increase retention of students in upper primary, foster transition to lower secondary education and ultimately enhance student learning. Activities included (a) development, implementation, and monitoring of school improvement plans; (b) providing in-service training to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning in the classroom through "child friendly" methodologies; (c) recruiting lower/upper secondary graduates from disadvantaged provinces to Teacher Training Colleges and upgrading under qualified teachers during vacation periods for teachers in rural and remote area schools; (d) developing national teachers’ professional standards which set clear learning-focused behavioral goals for teacher training programs and teachers; (e) mobilizing communities to participate in school governance. A baseline and final project impact evaluation survey was to be conducted over the implementation period to appraise changes in school effectiveness conditions.
- Establishing a national assessment monitoring system to appraise student competencies, uncover variables associated with student achievement, inform policy development and provide pedagogical inputs for enhancing teaching and learning practices. The assessment was to be implemented in Khmer language and mathematics on a nationwide sample of grades 3, 6, and 9 students.
3. Assistance to the Education Sector Support Program (appraisal US$ 3.00 million; actual US$ 3.7 million). This was to provide for the implementation of additional selected interventions under the ESSP, based on approval and presentation of an implementation plan for the proposed activity to be determined during project implementation.
During the first year of implementation, Component 3 was refined to include three subcomponents:
- Strengthening the institutional capacity of the Department of Higher Education within the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports to implement civil works to expand the office accommodations, develop Ministry of Higher Education capacity, and establish a vision of higher education and design a prototype of Higher Education Management Information System.
- Strengthening the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia to establish a set of quality standards against which Higher Education Institutions could be measured and accredited.
- Constructing an extension of the library at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project Cost: With the agreement of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, underspent funds were reallocated for the construction of seven primary schools destroyed by Typhoon Ketsana (ICR, p. 8). The spending on the scholarships was lower than estimate because the costs to conduct the impact evaluation and train and mobilize the Local Management Committee were lower than anticipated (ICR, p. 28). Actual spending on component 3 was US$ 0.7 million higher as a result of the construction of the library extension of the University, as well as the higher cost for the library book package (ICR, p. 38).
Financing: The Project was financed by IDA Credit of US$ 8.0 million and IDA Grant for Poorest Countries of US$20.0 million. The IDA Credit increased in US$ terms to US$8.14 million due to depreciation against the SDR, the currency of the Credit. At closing, US$0.13 million was cancelled. Similarly, the Grant increased in value to US$20.11 million and US$1.11 million was cancelled at closing. Overall the Bank disbursed US$27.01 million and cancelled US$1.23 million.
Borrower Contribution: The Government contributed US$1.9 million, which was US$ 0.2 million less than amount anticipated at appraisal (ICR, p. 25).
Dates: On October 6, 2010 the original planned closing date of December 31, 2010 was extended to September 30, 2011. The extension was granted to finance the reconstruction of seven schools destroyed by the Ketsana typhoon and to complete the delayed construction of the Library extension at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
|3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:|
a. Relevance of Objectives:
The project's objectives were highly relevant to the Bank's Country Assistance Strategy (2005-2008),that remained current at closure, which included the strategic goal of supporting the Government's Education Sector Support Program. At appraisal, net primary school enrolment rate had increased to 89% in 2005 from 76% in 1997. However, due to a combination of children who enroll but drop out and those who never enroll, Cambodia looked unlikely to meet its goal of universal primary completion. Similarly, while the quality and affordability of education had improved, further progress was needed. Gender inequality in education was significant – girls accounted for only 39% of lower secondary school enrolment and experienced higher drop-out rates. The objectives of the project were also highly relevant to the Government's Education Sector Support Program (2001-2005) that aimed to increase access to basic education (grade 1-9) for all school-age children; improve the quality and relevance of schooling; and enhance the management and efficiency of educational services. The objectives were highly relevant to mitigating key challenges in the sector including: gender disparities in education participation rates across different income groups, poor efficiency rates at the primary and lower secondary education levels and low quality of education service delivery. The Country Assistance Strategy also stresses the development of higher education capacity.
b. Relevance of Design:
The PAD contains a detailed Results Framework, with objectives and outcomes for the two components logically linked to inputs and activities. A detailed Theory of Change underpinned the project design (PAD, p. 3). The project design focused on addressing in a comprehensive manner the challenges in the education sector. It sought to address the enrollment disparities by building/constructing schools in rural and remote areas, as well as reducing the cost of schooling for families by providing scholarships for disadvantaged children. The project addressed education quality through a combination of activities: training teachers, recruiting teachers for rural/remote areas, developing a National Strategy on Teacher Professional Standards, conducting standardized assessments of students' performance, developing school improvement plans, and community participation in school governance. These components/activities were logically related to the objective. Moreover, the project promoted equity by targeting poor children and provinces which had received either no or very limited overseas development aid in the past years (PAD, p. 6).
However, there were some weaknesses in the design and the Results Framework. First, the project did not have activities to encourage the right-age enrollment of children and make changes in student-teacher ratio, yet there were outcome measures for these aspects. Second, the third component was not defined. When it was revised it did not relate to the project objectives, but instead focused on higher education, relating to a pipeline project. The ICR (p.6) pointed out another design flaw – that the implementing agency for this project did not have responsibility for setting higher education policy and ensuring consensus among key players.
|4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :|
The outcomes discussed below cannot be solely attributed to the Bank’s inputs because there was significant external support for the sector from other development partners. While the project did not include co-financing, implementation required effective and consistent interaction with other partners, including: the Asian Development Bank support for school construction activities; the Japan International Co-operation Agency support for scholarship activities; and the British-financed Voluntary Service Overseas for the leadership capacity-building related to Provincial Office of Education and the District Education Office and Child- Friendly School interventions. In addition, UNICEF, Save the Children Norway, the Australian CARE program, and the Kampuchean Action Primary Education also supported Child-Friendly Schools; and USAID financed the impact evaluation of the leadership activities under the program (ICR, p. 26).
To expand access to education services by addressing supply, demand, quality and efficiency constraints, with special focus on the poor and underserved communes: Substantial
Supply constraints were addressed:
- Constructed 18 primary and 236 lower-secondary schools including toilets and school furniture, not meeting the target (300 schools). Increased building costs were the reason the target could not be attained. The project team indicated that all lower secondary schools constructed by the project were in rural/remote areas. In addition 7 more primary schools were reconstructed in the area damaged by Typhoon Ketsana and satisfactorily completed by May 2011. It was estimated that the project-funded schools extended access to at least 45,000 students (ICR p.40).
- Trained 7,804 teachers in Basic Education course, which exceeded the target (4,000 teachers) and this covered 32.5% of all Cambodia’s lower-secondary school teachers.
- Trained 908 School Directors in 13 provinces and 1,165 Provincial and District staff, which exceeded the target (training to be provided in 3 provinces).
- Constructed the extension to the Royal University of Phonm Penh.
Demand constraints were addressed:
- Awarded 73,644 three-year scholarships for students in all 23 provinces of the country to continue their lower secondary education in grades 7, 8 and 9, which exceeded the target (70,000 scholarships). The ICR (p. 5) reports that 67% of the scholarships were provided to girls. Impact evaluation found that "the application process had 70% likelihood of selecting students from the poor or poorest households; however despite the scholarship targeting to poor applicants it did not reach the poorest of the poor, since these students had already dropped-out from primary school" (ICR, p. 28).
Education quality constraints were addressed:
- Supported 139 schools in 12 provinces to work within the Ministry's Child Friendly School Policy, which met the target. The ICR (p. v and p. 33) states that the 2009 independent evaluation indicates that these schools performed better than comparison schools, based on Child Friendly School criteria (i.e., criteria included: universal coverage, gender equity, effective teaching and learning, healthy and safe environment, community participation, and enabling conditions for good school management). The Task Team reported that all of the lower secondary schools targeted to receive Child Friendly School training were located in rural/remote areas.
- Developed Teacher Standards, which were then field tested, revised and approved by Ministry.
- The ICR (p. 14) indicates that Basic Education courses provided accredited training to upgrade primary school teachers to be qualified to teach Grades 1-9.
- Established a national assessment monitoring system. Two rounds of assessments were carried out for grade 3 and 9 students and one round for grade 6 students.
- Developed a Higher Education Vision, but it has not been approved by Ministry.
- Established a Higher Education Accreditation system and standards were approved and disseminated.
Some efficiency constraints were addressed:
- Completed prototype for Higher Education Management Information system.
Attainments related to demand :
- There was a 10% increase in Grade 7 enrollment at scholarship schools compared with the same cohort at other schools in comparable areas of Cambodia with no scholarships (ICR, p. 29).
- The impact evaluation of the scholarship program found that scholarships raised the school participation of recipients by about 20% as compared with those schools/students without the program. Thus, the ICR estimated that 12, 574 students would have been unable to finish Grade 9 without this program (i.e. 20% of 62,869 students funded by this project and the Ministry budget in 2009 and 2010) (ICR, p. 51).
- There was increased spending on girls’ schooling by approximately US$7/year to US$9/year for scholarship recipients and US$3/year to US$4/year for their sisters. The study concluded that the Scholarship Program appeared to have removed about one-half of the difference in expenditures between boys and girls among applicants, and about one-fifth of this difference among siblings (ICR, p. 29).
- The percentage of six year-olds entering first grade increased from 79% in 2004 to 92% in 2012. No target established. ICR (p. iii) indicates that this is not attributable to the project, since it did not include activities to impact this indicator.
- The total primary enrollment rate increased from 90% in 2004 to 95% in 2012, just missing the target (96%).
- The female primary enrollment rate increased from 88% in 2004 to 95% in 2012, just missing the target (96%). The total lower secondary enrollment rate modestly increased from 30% in 2004 to 33% in 2012, which did not meet the target of 50%.
- The female lower secondary enrollment rate increased from 28% in 2004 to 35% in 2012, which did not meet the target (50%).
- The attendance rate among students in lower secondary school increased among the poorest quintile from 20.7% in 2004 to 38.0% in 2009, as reported by the project team. Chart 1 summarizes the changes for each quintile.
Data source: Cambodia Socio Economic Survey 2004 and 2009
Attainments related to supply:
- 7, 804 teachers (who qualified as Basic Education Teacher) would be able to add extra teaching hours by being able to teach at least two grade levels in primary schools (ICR, p. 31).
- The 2009 independent qualitative evaluation found that the training program made a contribution to meeting the shortage of qualified teachers at the lower secondary level and improved the retention of teachers in rural and isolated schools (ICR, p. 31).
Attainments related to quality:
- While the scholarship program increased access, it had little or no impact at all on learning (ICR, p. 29). However, the scholarship program was an intervention that improved access by reducing the constraints and opportunity costs to enrollment, which would not have been expected to lead to improvements in quality.
- In 2007 the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports formally recognized the Basic Education Teacher Training Program. Teachers who successfully passed the 2 year program were renamed Basic Education Teachers, which provided an increase in status, salary and pensionable rights (ICR, p. 31).
- The total transition rate from primary to lower-secondary decreased from 90% in 2004 to 80% in 2012, which did not meet the target (97%).
- The female transition rate from primary to lower-secondary decreased from 88% in 2004 to 81% in 2012, which did not meet the target (95%).
- The dropout rate in Grade 9 decreased from 26.2% in 2003-04 to 19.8% in 2009-10.
- The student-teacher ratio decreased from 52:1 in primary in 2004 to 50:1 in 2012, which met the target.
- The primary completion rate increased from 59% in 2004 to 85% in 2012. No target established. The ICR did not discuss the role promotion policies had in increasing the completion rate.
- There was improved learning in Khmer and Mathematics with grade three students, while the results remained constant for grade 9 students in Khmer and slight improvement in Mathematics.
Gr. 3 Khmer 40.4% 54.1%
Gr. 3 Math 37.5% 48.0%
Gr. 9 Khmer 68.0% 68.3%
Gr. 9 Math 41.2% 43.8%
Attainments related to efficiency:
- No change in student-teacher ratio at lower-secondary from 23:1 in 2004 to 23:1 in 2012, which did not meet the target of increasing student-teacher ratio (45). Since the project did not have activities to impact the student-teacher ratio, results (or lack of results) are not attributable to the project.
- The repetition rate in lower secondary decreased from 4.2% in 2003-04 to 2.4% in 2009-10. The ICR (p. 42) reported that while the project did not support all lower secondary schools, it increased 27.5% of lower secondary school buildings and trained 31.1% of lower secondary teachers and 98.5% of school directors.
An economic analysis was not carried out at appraisal. The project interventions were justified on the basis that education is the key determinant of current poverty, inequality, and vulnerability in Cambodia, given the significant differences in labor incomes. Providing it was appropriately targeted, improved access to education was expected to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty and reduce inequality (PAD, p. 59).
The ICR (p. 15 and 40) estimated the Net Present Value to be US$ 53 million at a five percent discount rate, and the Internal Economic Rates of Return varied between 11.5% to 13.1%, based on the lowest and highest scenario. This rate suggests the project had and will continue to generate benefits.
The ICR did not describe how efficiently the project utilized funds. However, what was accomplished with the civil works, despite the escalating cost of materials, suggests substantial efficiency. In the period 2006-2008, the average cost of a five- classroom school increased from US$ 35,000 to US$ 65, 000 due to the higher price of a ton of steel from US$ 650 to US$ 1,100 and increased cost of other raw materials in the same period. Despite the near doubling of the unit cost, the project was able to construct 254 primary and lower-secondary schools, which amounted to 85% of the target.
The results of the impact evaluation (Schady & Filmer, 2009b) showed that the enrollment and retention effect for students in lower secondary students who received the higher stipend (US$ 60) was not much greater than those with the lower one (US$ 45). Consequently the higher value stipend was dropped, increasing efficiency (ICR, p. 29).
The cost of project management was only 3% higher than the appraised estimate, even though there was an extension of the project duration by 13% (9 months) (ICR, p. 38). Therefore project administration appear to be cost-effective.
a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:
* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated