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LESSONS:

Higher Education Project

sector: Education | country: Papua New Guinea | region: Pacific Islands

A monitoring mechanism together with baseline data must be identified duringproject appraisal to assess the project’s progress and success.

Given the pivotal importance of the roles and preparedness of the executing agency, assessing the executing agency’s capacity to implement a project is particularly important. The establishment of the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and the appointment of the project manager and accountant must be made a condition of loan effectiveness.

In the design of education projects for small nations such as island nations, thelikelihood of inadequate institutional capacity, political interference, weakmanagement, budgetary cuts, and longer implementation periods must be takeninto account.

The availability of counterpart staff for the project should be determined duringproject appraisal and suitable people should be identified to avoid delays andensure the transfer of technology.

The incorporation of more frequent reviews, including quarterly and midtermreviews by both the government and ADB, seems to be critical in situations wherethe availability of counterpart funds and staff is likely to be limited.

The number of consultants should match the availability of counterpart staff andthe country’s absorptive capacity. A large number of short-term consultantsimposes a heavy administrative, logistical, and counterpart staff burden on aninexperienced Project Implementation Unit (PIU). Long-term consultants are better placed to provide continuityin ideas and assistance to counterpart staff, who would then be required insmaller and more manageable numbers and be available for a longer period tohelp digest reports.

The provision of a long-term consultant team leader to coordinate the inputs andoutputs of a large number of consultants is vital to assure continuity andcoordination and preserve institutional memory.

The timely provision of counterpart funds is critical for the speedy implementationof any project. Ways must be found to ensure that adequate funds are set asideunder the project.

Unlike construction and consultancy components, which are administered in thecountry and can therefore be more easily monitored and coordinated, overseasstaff development programs do not lend themselves to easy monitoring andcoordination because they involve people with careers, families, and financialresponsibilities who have to adjust to the educational, cultural, and otherdemands of foreign universities. About 30% more time should be added to theperiod for studies abroad compared to studies in the home country.

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