We are very pleased to be working in an international team to support the Ministry of Education in #Azerbaijan on a long term donor-funded assignment to explore opportunities to expand the use of public-private partnerships (#PPP) in the Education sector.
This country of around 10 million people is a place of great contrasts. In the capital Baku, a glitzy modern centre sits alongside ancient Silk Road caravanserais, while an easy drive on good roads crosses the arid coastal desert before rising into the Caucasus – a mountain range as high as the alps.
Azerbaijani, a language closely related to Turkish, is the main language, with most people also speaking Russian. English is not widely spoken, although this is changing rapidly as international links grow. Most of the country was part of the Russian empire in the 19th century then the USSR until independence in the early 1990s.
Education is secular and compulsory from years 1 to 9 plus a pre-school year, and a high proportion of pupils do an additional two years in school. Most then go on to college or university.
We are looking forward to identifying the most suitable PPP modalities for addressing challenges within the education system here, testing their feasibility, and helping develop capacity and capability within the country.
As financial transaction advisers to Scottish Borders Council on their Jedburgh Intergenerational Campus project, we are pleased to report that Financial Close was achieved on 25 October.
The new £32 million education campus will replace three existing schools in the town and will include #nursery, #primary, #secondary, and further educational facilities.
The project is being delivered in partnership with hub South East Scotland using the standard Scottish PPP/DBFM structure, and achieved financial close 13 months after the business case (known as the New Project Request) was approved.
This successful project continues our relationship with the Council, having previously advised them on the development of the new Kelso High School which achieved Financial Close in February 2016 and which opened on time and budget in November 2017.
We have been appointed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support them and the Municipality of Prishtina with the preparation and implementation of the first Education PPP project in Kosovo. The project will see two schools rehabilitated and four new ones built. Our role will be to help address various technical and commercial issues as part of IFC’s due diligence and transaction structuring.
This will be the first Education PPP in Kosovo, and continues our leading role in structuring Education PPPs worldwide. It adds IFC (part of the World Bank Group) to the list of Multilateral Development Bank partners with whom we have worked on Education PPP assignments, a list that also includes the Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Development Bank of Latin America and the European Investment Bank.
The ‘One Year Review’ of e-sgoil, written by our Education Specialist Bruce Robertson and Director Martin Finnigan, has been published by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, (Western Isles Council). Our review documents the remarkable success of this initiative which takes Smart Cities concepts and applies them in a rural Smart Islands context.
Careful data gathering and analysis, reliable communications infrastructure and technology-literate teaching staff have opened up new curriculum and pedagogical opportunities throughout the islands.
The potential of this approach to extend from schools into vocational and higher education has been demonstrated, and the impact on Cosnadh (employment), Cánan (language), Cultar (culture) and Coimhearsnachd (community) is clear.
The report assesses progress against the funding objectives, describes the transformational business model, and identifies the current and potential economic impacts.
The e-sgoil model is inexpensive, efficient and scalable. It is applicable in remote, rural and dispersed communities regardless of location. The report is can be downloaded here.
We are very pleased to have supported Angus Council on the procurement of replacements for Muirfield and Ladyloan Primary Schools in the coastal town of Arbroath, which reached financial close on 24 November 2017. The new schools are being developed under a single Design-Build-Finance-Maintain contract with hub East Central.
Each school will have a capacity of approximately 335 primary pupils and 72 pre-school pupils.
We supported the Council’s in-house team in confirming that financial submissions from the private sector partner are within the various limits set by the Territory Partnering Agreement and we worked closely with the financing partners to achieve a successful financial close to the project.
This continues our long relationship with Angus Council which including supporting the initial feasibility study, and subsequently acting as transaction advisor, for the Forfar and Carnoustie schools PPP.
How often do we see a project that breaks genuinely new ground?
Very rarely I would say, but e-sgoil does, as Holyrood Magazine reported while commenting on our recent study.
E-sgoil is not just another distance learning package. It seeks out situations where location is at the root of a mismatch between the demand for – and supply of – education. Then it asks how technology can be used to address the mismatch. It takes Smart Cities concepts and applies them in the Smart Islands context.
Developed in the Western Isles with the vision of “Placing the Periphery at the Centre”, e-sgoil is finding applications across Scotland: helping address shortages of specialist teachers, delivering Gaelic language courses in places where it was not previously feasible, broadening the curriculum in small island schools, and enabling students of all ages to study courses up to postgraduate levels in the workplace or close to home.
Caledonian Economics helps Local Authorities, Health Agencies and National Government develop and deliver excellent PPP projects. We work at all stages of the PPP process: PPP strategy development, business cases, financial modelling, transaction support, Operational PPP performance improvement, rescue of distressed projects, and Public Sector training and capacity building.
Many of the projects we have supported have been open and operating successfully for ten years or more. The senior public sector officials who have been responsible for these projects are uniquely experienced to comment on the most effective approaches to long term management of PPP projects.
We spoke to ten of these public sector professionals, asked about their experiences, and discussed what advice they would give to new projects, now and in the future.
In our new report on Operational PPP projects, we ask seven key questions about the effectiveness of PPP Management, and identify important lessons. You can read what we found out in our new report by downloading it here: Caledonian Economics Report on Operational Projects.
We have been reappointed to provide financial advisory support to Dumfries and Galloway Council for the operational phase of the Smarter Schools PPP project.
Stranraer Academy, refurbished and extended
This project was signed in 2008 and all eleven schools were operational by 2010. The project was financed by a £127 million facility provided by HSBC and the European Investment Bank.
This reappointment continues our long relationship with the Council which spanned the project business case, tender preparation and evaluation, financial close, and project effectiveness assignments during the operational phase.
Working with LPS, we delivered a half day seminar and web broadcast to around seventy representatives from Latvian municipalities and local government bodies. The Webinar described the Scottish experience of PPP, its evolution to meet the particular social aspirations of the nation, and its relevance to other states of similar size and latitude.
We recently undertook a review of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s payment mechanism monitoring procedures for their Schools PPP programme.
Our work involved recalculating a sample of applicable deductions and a broader assessment of how their procedures worked in practice, noting any areas for improvement. We identified a number of potential efficiencies for the Council as a result of this review.