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Most developing countries in Asia and the Pacific have increased primary education enrollment rates in the last three decades, but daunting challenges remain. ADB is assisting its developing member countries achieve the goal of quality education for all.

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COVID-19 Response and Possible Long-Term Effects

ADB's COVID-19 Response is a $20 billion package to support its developing member countries in countering the severe macroeconomic and health impacts caused by COVID-19, including $2.5 billion in concessional and grant resources, as well as $2 billion earmarked for the private sector (nonsovereign).

Committed Amount is the financing approved by ADB's Board of Directors or Management for which the legal agreement has been signed by the borrower, recipient, or the investee company and ADB.
*Projects may be listed in more than one country or subregion. The number of projects excludes short-term finance transactions under the Trade Finance, Supply Chain Finance, and Microfinance Programs.

Learning and Earning Losses from COVID-19 School Closures

School disruptions have taken extended periods of time during the pandemic, affecting millions of students in developing Asia. What students learn affect the level of skills they acquire in their lifetime, and eventually, their productivity as workers. The state of education today will affect the human capital of tomorrow, and it is important to see the long-term consequences of school closures on the quantity and quality of learning. Download the ADO 2021 special topic (PDF)

Made with Flourish

Education Issues in Asia and the Pacific

Asia is a global success story when it comes to educating children. Overall, 9 out of 10 children in the region, since 2018, are enrolled in primary school. Significant progress in attaining quality education was globally reported during the first quarter of 2020. For a continent that contained two-thirds of world’s out-of-school children in the 1970s, the progress has been nothing short of remarkable.

This section highlights major education challenges and trends in developing Asia and the Pacific. Across all levels of education and in the context of COVID-19 and other possible pandemics that will stifle face-to-face learning, ADB helps its DMCs maintain education delivery in the “new normal” scenario.

Basic and Secondary Education

Basic and Secondary Education

Primary education enrollment averages around 90% in the region. However, this high rate masks serious deficiencies in student retention, quality of education, and foundational literacy and numeracy acquired.

Higher Education

Higher Education

Higher education contributes significantly to the technological and innovation capacity and overall competitiveness of developing member countries (DMCs). As such, the region's fast-growing economies are exerting pressure on higher education.

Technical and Vocational Education

Technical and Vocational Education

Developing Asia and the Pacific provides a rich array of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) experiences, but too often these have recorded only modest results.

Education Reform

Education Reform

In an expanding and diversifying sector, developing member countries (DMCs) need to implement reforms to strengthen governance. In particular, reforms should focus on attracting and developing talents of education workforce, improving governance and accountability, and improving financing and system efficiency.

Promoting Equity

Promoting Equity

Unequal access to education in the region remains pronounced, beginning at the basic education level, and compounded at the secondary level and above.

Sustainable Education Financing

Sustainable Education Financing

Sustained investments in education are important for the productivity and resilience of economies. Funding for education is provided not only by the state, but also by households and the private sector.


Brajesh PanthBrajesh PANTH

Chief of Education Sector Group

Mr. Panth coordinates ADB's strategic support for Asia and the Pacific region's education sector development. He provides technical advice on ADB's strategies for new business opportunities, portfolio management, and mentors education sector project teams in designing and implementing innovative education projects. Before moving to the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, he worked in Central Asia and South Asia Departments including in the Bangladesh Resident Mission in processing, administering and coordinating education projects and technical assistance projects and in managing knowledge products. Mr. Panth brought a wealth of experience from World Bank where he supervised operations in the areas of education and functioned as the main advisor on the education sector in Nepal responsible for administering programs at all levels of education.

Shanti JagannathanShanti JAGANNATHAN

Principal Education Specialist

Ms. Jagannathan works on ADB education sector policies and strategies and provides technical advice and support to ADB’s lending and non-lending education operations. She leads some of the knowledge initiatives and regional technical assistance programs in the education sector. Shanti has worked on policy research studies such as skills for greening economies and Asia’s knowledge-based economies and innovation. She has helped to establish the annual ADB International Skills Development Forum series. Shanti has also led the design of education sector projects for ADB funding in school education, skills development and post-quake school reconstruction in Nepal and Bhutan, and has supported education sector projects in Bangladesh and India. She has over a dozen publications arising from work in ADB. Prior to joining the ADB, Shanti worked with the European Union on development cooperation in South Asia, and with an economic research think tank in India.

Education Sector Group