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LESSONS:

Restructuring of the Technical Education and Vocational Training System Project (North-West Frontier Province)

sector: Education | country: Pakistan

Design

A well thought out conceptual design is a key to the success of any project. In this case, the project design had commendable objectives, but it seems that the commitment and capacity of the executing and implementing agencies was overestimated, and there was too heavy a reliance on consultants. Due to lack of capacity and interest by the executing and implementing agencies, sector reforms did not get the traction that was aspired to.

Before a complex and innovative project is designed, particularly in a relatively less- developed region such as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, it is necessary to have thorough consultation with stakeholders directly involved with the technical education and vocational training (TEVT) system to develop realistic activities. Some of the innovative activities under the project such as the management development program, performance-based management system, and competency-based training required many more resources and greater time allocated if they were to be developed successfully,.

In provincial projects it is important to identify the sector reforms that can be authorized on the provincial level. A number of the proposed reforms under the project, such as the competency-based training and the on-the-job training, required changes in the curriculum on the federal level.

Inadequate review by ADB of the government project documents (PC-Is) and inconsistencies between the PC-Is and the report and recommendation of the President are perennial problems that result in slowing down the pace of project implementation. A thorough review of PC-Is by ADB should be ensured by requiring the project officer to prepare a comparative statement identifying both the similarities and differences between PC-Is and the report and recommendation of the President and/or loan agreement, and advising the executing agency(ies) on corrective measures before declaring project effectiveness.

Implementation

One of the main strengths of the project was the continued presence of the same project management in the project management unit (PMU), who were selected and appointed on a competitive basis.

More confusing were the frequent changes in the ADB administration of the project. During the project’s 3.5-year life span, the administration moved from the South Asia Department to the Central and West Asia Department, and from the Social Sector Division via the Governance and Finance Division to the Pakistan Resident Mission. This was detrimental to the continuity of interaction with the KPK government.

The frequent change in administration also affected the filing of the key project documentation, resulting in some of the files remaining in headquarters and others in the resident mission.

During the inception mission, the KPK government requested a reallocation of loan proceeds in line with what was agreed to during loan negotiations. The requested reallocation required a major change in scope, which was proposed to take place during the midterm review mission, scheduled for the third year of project implementation. The midterm review mission does not necessarily need to come in the middle of the project period; it can be scheduled early on, for instance in the first year of project implementation, if it would help to get the project going after a slow start.

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