2009 Vietnam: Evaluation of Child-Friendly Primary Education
Author: Bùi Phương Nga, Hoàng Cao Cương
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Child-Friendly Primary Education (CFPE) Project is under the framework of cooperation program between the MOET and UNICEF in two phases of 2001-2005 and 2006-2010. The project aims at supporting the MOET to realize major goals as belows:
1. Developing child-friendly learning atmosphere among primary schools in order to ensure children’s rights to expose to quality primary education.
2. Enhancing the school enrolment rate and primary education completion, reducing the drop-out and repetition rate among poor students in rural areas including ethnic minority and disabled children.
3. Strengthening the management, monitoring and advocacy capacity for education officers from central to grassroot levels, especially those at district and school level, members of Parents’ Union and Education Council.
A majority of activities in the CFPE Project at the first phase (2001-2005) will be continued to be completed in the second phase of 2006-2010 with a shorter stated goal “By 2010 children at primary school age, especially those with disadvantaged conditions (including children of ethnic minority groups) will be accessed to quality education and successfully complete the primary school level in child-friendly schools of effective, quality and fair operation”.
To ensure an objective viewpoint so that useful experience lessons will be learnt for more effective performance stages to come, right the late 2008, UNICEF and the Project’s stakeholders have taken an initiative to conduct independent assessment on the Project.
Evaluating outcome levels and practical results achieved by the CFPE Project in comparison with the expected ones.
Reviewing the effectiveness of the Project management and implementation process, especially the monitoring and evaluation system as well as proposed recommendations for improvement.
Offering an overall assessment on the program and policy-related issues; in other words, having objective views on strengths, weaknesses, sustainability of the model; drawing out lessons to be learnt; and obviously proposing appropriate recommendations and policies for the CFPE model.
Methods to be utilized during the assessment process include: studying relevant materials namely the Project’s documents, performance and summary reports; policies, strategies, national and local primary education program as well as local development plans (provinces, districts and communes to be evaluated) in order to have better understanding about the Project’s performances, its appropriateness with the national and local policies and development plans; having field trips and observing child-friendly primary schools in the Project scale to collect the most accurate and valuable pictures and evidence for given comments and conclusions in the reports; discussing, interviewing and delivering questionnaires to investigate the collaboration between the Project Management Board at all levels and the Project implementing units as well as to receive precise assessments of the staff and local people on all activities carried out by the Project. The assessment is conducted on the basis of enhancing active participation of beneficiaries from the Project; especially paying due attention to listening to all comments made by students, teachers, education administrators, students’ parents and commune officials within the project scale.
Findings and Conclusions:
CFPE Project has achieved the goal of bringing about a friendly learning atmosphere through the establishment of a healthy, safe and effective environment to attract more students to go to school and complete primary education level with following specific results:
- Developing a child-friendly environment including the improvement of physical conditions (safe, clean and tidy school...), of social environment (both teachers and students respect and support one another...), of students’ learning atmosphere (students show their cooperation, involvement and high sense of responsibility for their studies...). Also, teacher’s professional capacity is constantly strengthened to further enhance teaching and learning quality (teachers are offered with good opportunities to develop their professional knowledge, and to apply various teaching methods to promote student’s activeness in their learning...).
- Increasing the school enrolment rate and primary education level completion, decreasing the drop-out and repetition rate.
- Reinforcing the active participation of Parents’ Union and Education Council in school activities such as planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating.
- Improving the Principal’s capacity and skills in planning, managing and developing the school.
For a developing country like Vietnam, budget for education has always been a big challenge. Although local authority, masters, mistresses and teachers insist on developing the model even without external financial support, it is not easy to sustain it. Surveys conducted in some areas assert that there is a lack of human resource and capability, especially in disadvantaged areas. In the community where people earn their living by working for people in other regions, it is challenging to maintain a stable number of students, to increase students’ regular attendance, to reduce drop-out rate as well as to help students with access to secondary education. One of the three visited provinces has a very high demand on financial support for students’ family, on job creation for the graduates. However, the demand exceeds budget limit set by the school, community, by the project and Government.
1. Strengthening the model of child-friendly education built over the last 5 years, in which more attention should be paid to activities supporting education quality and equality especially for ethnic minority girls.
2. Keeping researching and developing the COMPAS set of tools and using materials such as video CDs on advocacy of child-friendly primary school, communication manual on child-friendly learning environment, Q & A book on child-friendly primary school, manual on usage of COMPAS set of tools and other materials in order to encourage the duplication of child-friendly education at primary and secondary schools.
3. Keeping investing in human resource: enhancing capacity for education managers at different levels, teachers, parents’ union, local authority and organizations in order to maintain and utilize achievements of the child-friendly education project. Teachers should be trained more on international advanced teaching methods and strategies so that they not only teach “knowledge” but also “develop people”, providing students with analysis skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, negotiation skills, cooperation skills, and so on.
4. Mobilizing community’s participation. Taking advantage of community’s contribution in case of limited budget is an important solution to maintain and expand activities improving education quality for ethnic children. In order to sustain this contribution, a variety of commitments between Parents’ union, education council, benefactors for the project and local school sites have been encouraged. This is the open development trend which is based completely on community’s involvement and in which local authority and stakeholders are empowered. The valuable lesson learnt from the example of Child-friendly primary education model is that community’s resource, knowledge and understanding can be fully utilized even with limited State budget and external support. Such organizations as Women’s association, Youth union, learning encouragement association play the role as important as that of non-governmental organizations in protecting child rights and supporting girls’ education.
Lessons Learned (Optional):
• Success of the project can be attributed to the appropriate project design, strategic vision as well as clear goal which are totally in line with that of Vietnam’s Government.
• There has been a variety of practical innovations in monitoring, management and evaluation, which becomes the driving force for education development and better facilitates educators in setting plans, implementing, reporting and assessing the project.
• The accomplishment of the project also derives from the synergy of cooperation which has been fully utilized during the UNICEF-supported project implementation process namely the close coordination among project management boards at all levels, collaboration between CFPE project and other UNICEF-run Education Programs, between UNICEF and relevant stakeholders.
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