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Evaluation report

2009 Uzbekistan: Summative Evaluation of the Child Friendly Schools Project (2006-208)



Executive summary

 

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Background

(1) The CFS project is being implemented as part of UNICEF Uzbekistan’s overarching programme on

Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Quality Basic Education, with the aim of improving the

quality and access to basic education for disadvantaged children. It involves a partnership between the

Ministry of Public Education (MoPE) of Uzbekistan and its regional departments, UNICEF, In-Service

Teacher Training Institutes (ISTTIs), Pedagogical Institutes (PIs), the Uzbek Scientific and Research

Institute of Pedagogical Sciences (USRIPS) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in

Uzbekistan.

(2) The project addresses grades 1-9 and is a continuation of the Global Education (GE) initiative which

was implemented in Uzbekistan between 2003 and 2005. The CFS project has been using the same

child-centred approach and methods enriched by the CFS concept. Still underpinning the whole

approach are the twin objectives of building student competency for active and responsive citizenship

and building the capacity of teachers involved so they become facilitative, flexible and reflective

practitioners.

(3) Initiated in 2003 in 51 schools as the GE Project, the CFS Project now covers 737 schools in 5 regions,

5 Pedagogical Institutes and all ISTTIs with the National CFS concept developed. Its overall objective

is twofold, i.e. (i) to develop a child’s personality, talents, intellectual and physical abilities, bringing to

a focus the child’s health, nutrition and well-being; and (ii) to promote every child growing as a person

of identity, capable acting in a meaningful manner in compliance with the needs of the community.

Based on these overall objectives, the CFS Project in Uzbekistan pursues 3 specific objectives, i.e. (i)

to support the transition to the child-centred educational environment; (ii) to set up the conditions for

collaboration of school, family and community; and (iii) to strengthen school management through its

decentralisation.

Evaluation Design and Methodology

(4) The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the potential of the CFS principles to be mainstreamed into

national education policies, strategies and action plans in Uzbekistan, to inform the forthcoming

strategic planning process, and to support a synergetic approach of the UN and donor community in the

Uzbekistan education system. The findings and recommendations of the evaluation of the CFS Project

will thus be used to inform planning for the new country programme cycle (2010-2015) of the UNICEF

Uzbekistan Country Office. The main objective of the summative evaluation will be to measure the

relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of the CFS project.

(5) The evaluation draws upon the GE Evaluation (2006) and other CFS evaluations in order to allow for

international comparison and an assessment of the development in Uzbekistan from 2005/2006.

Overall, the evaluation revolves around the evaluation criteria stipulated by the Development

Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

(OECD), i.e. (i) relevance, (ii) efficiency, (iii) effectiveness, (iv) impact and (v) sustainability. The

approach for this external evaluation has been based on the principles of participation and cooperation.

(6) Based on the total number of CFS pilot schools (N=737), and in order to maximise the efficiency of

inputs (manpower and time) and outputs (evaluation outcomes, i.e. data) in light of the available time

and manpower for the data collection, the general approach combined representative sampling by

categories and randomisation. According to specific criteria provided in the Evaluation Manual, a

sample of 52 primary schools was identified by UNICEF Uzbekistan (42 CFS Pilot Schools and 10

non-pilot control schools). This represented approximately 5% of schools of each region.

(7) All schools selected received and completed a full set of questionnaires (covering school directors,

teachers and students in Grades 2, 5 and 9). In addition, between 40-50% of schools selected for the

completion of questionnaires were physically visited during a round of field visits in order to observe

lessons in three different grades and three different subjects (one of which should include a foreign

language other then Russian), to conduct meetings with the school director, and for conducting focus

group discussions with teachers, students, parents and/or makhallya (community) members. Regional

school administrators were also interviewed. Besides CFS schools, a small number of non-CFS schools

was included in the survey as a control group. Schools being physically visited were selected out of the

pool of those schools who completed the questionnaire.

(8) In total, 15,270 questionnaires were completed by school directors (N=46), teachers (N=2,527) and

students (N=12,697) from the 52 schools included in the evaluation. Responses were differentiated

between pilot schools (N questionnaires=12,743) and control schools (N questionnaires=2,527), and

also between regions, grade and gender. In addition, 63 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were

conducted with students, teachers and parents of both pilot and control schools, and 21 school directors

were interviewed, together with the regional Heads of Department of MoPE. Given an average FGD

size of 15, a total of about 971 individuals (comprising FGD participants and interviewees) contributed

to the evaluation with their valuable inputs.

Key evaluation results

(9) The CFS Project has been a remarkable success, both in terms of government partner ownership and

also in terms of the large scale of successful infusion of CFS concepts into the educational system of all

5 pilot regions. CFS concepts are well known in the pilot regions, have been accepted and to a large

extent integrated even into the methodological practice in non-pilot schools. It can be reasonably

assumed that the large-scale expansion of pilot schools has efficiently and effectively saturated the

educational system of the pilot regions.

(10) School visits (N=21) and lesson observations (N=63) confirmed that schools in their strong majority

(>80%) meet the criteria of the UNICEF concept of a child-friendly school. In addition, there are no

obvious differences between pilot schools and non-pilot control schools; both samples were completely

comparable, and both samples contained excellent as well as weaker lessons. In general, child-friendly

standards appear to have been integrated in schools at a broad level. This is in clear contrast to the GE

initiative where pilot schools showed a tendency to “stage” lessons, and where the school environment

did not always correspond to the philosophy promoted in the classroom.

(11) The current CFS packaging in Uzbekistan comprehensively includes issues such as child rights

promotion, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), a healthy life style and HIV/AIDS awareness.

While the existence of child-friendly water and sanitation facilities and hygiene education programmes

is now widely recognised as a sector priority, the three pillars for effective and sustainable WASH

programmes are fully supported by the observed schools through an enabling environment (in terms of

child-friendliness of schools), behavioural change on the basis of CFS outcomes, and the provision of

adequate water and sanitation.

(12) The preceding GE initiative had certainly played a supportive role in paving the way for a large

acceptance of the CFS philosophy. Through UNICEF’s support, GE assisted in widening the

acceptance base for such methodologies and educational philosophy at ministerial/government level.

However, while GE did not succeed in attaining the status of an “integrated concept” and while GE

remained rather isolated, the CFS project succeeded in mainstreaming child-friendliness to a

considerable degree.

(13) Child-centred teaching methodology propagated by the CFS schools successfully managed to penetrate

the entire school system (at least in the pilot regions which were part of this evaluation). Respondents

from both pilot and non-pilot schools have internalised CFS philosophy in terms of class participation

and open dialogue, freedom to engage in opinion exchange, tolerance for difference and improved

participation of pupils in their own learning process.

(14) The younger the students and the lower the grades, the larger the differences between pilot schools and

control schools, or – in other words – the larger the impact of child-friendly methodology on the

teaching and learning process.

(15) There is great consensus across the five pilot regions, both in CFS Pilot and non-pilot control schools,

that teachers feel comfortable with interactive and participatory teaching methods, manage to keep

students engaged in the learning process and successfully pursue an improved academic achievement.

They regard themselves as facilitators and are in a position to apply a broad variety of educational

methodology in their teaching. The implementation of the CFS project is regarded by teachers as

beneficial for their day-to-day teaching.

(16) The CFS methodology is generally well accepted by children and therefore by their parents. Parents in

their clear majority appreciate the fact that their children are happy with the school and that they like to

go to school if CFS principles are being applied. This has been repeatedly confirmed by teachers and

school directors who referred to much better attendance rates due to the CFS methodology applied in

school.

(17) The CFS Project has been successful in mainstreaming core elements of the CFS philosophy into

governmental legislative bases of the education system. This creates an impact far beyond the school

itself, leading to a general atmosphere of openness, mutual respect and independent thinking.

Consequently, CFS indicators and State Educational Standards match in the content and overall

concept of the quality of education, and there is a common direction of continuous capacity building of

pedagogical staff.

(18) The strong presence of CFS philosophy in five regions of Uzbekistan has led to a wide penetration of

CFS principles into the school curriculum and the training of teachers. Participatory and interactive

methods are being regarded as essential for productive and learner-centred teaching. The project has

established strong partnerships with six out of fifteen In-Service Teacher Training Institutes (ISTTIs).

On an experimental level, CFS modules for teacher training have been included in pre- and in-service

training courses in the Republic of Karakalpakstan.

(19) Capacities of the regional CFS teams are sound, as can be seen in the very thorough monitoring reports

compiled by every region at a regular 3-monthly basis. All monitoring reports are based on detailed

logframes with specific indicators, both quantitative and qualitative. Monitoring includes quality

monitoring with detailed monitoring sheets and observation plans for classroom observations and

assessment of child-friendly methodology and environments.

Key recommendations

(20) It appears to be worthwhile to further operationalise CFS standards in light of the Uzbekistan context,

and to develop a refined CHABBOTT matrix as an agreed-upon national CFS standard which should

then be extended as educational quality standard to all schools, fully endorsed by Government. This

will also support the upgrading of the normative-legislative base for child-friendliness.

(21) There seems to be a much stronger impact of CFS methodology in the lower classes which seems to

underline the importance of a focus on lower grades (which probably also shows that a further

extension of CFS methodology beyond Grade 9 would not yield additional benefits). Pre-school

education would positively be an important area to focus on for future strengthening of the CFS

approach.

(22) Future project involvement should shift its focus from school-based support to countrywide

institutionalisation of CFS concepts. It will be of particular importance to explore and utilise interregional

cooperation in Uzbekistan, in order to transfer the experiences and already existing

cooperation agreements from the pilot regions to those regions not yet covered by the CFS project.

Systemic institutionalisation of CFS concepts should also address the structure and content of the

system of psychological and methodical services.

(23) Key institutional partners for securing institutionalisation of CFS concepts countrywide should

continue to be the Pedagogical Institutes and the In-Service Teacher Training Institutes, both under the

Ministry of Public Education. In addition, cooperation with the Ministry of Special Secondary

Education and Higher Education should be explored, in order to include Academic Lyceums,

Professional colleges including Pedagogical Colleges (3 years), and universities (e.g. University of

World Languages in Tashkent, Tashkent State Pedagogical University in Tashkent) into the

institutionalisation process of CFS concepts.

(24) Following a successful institutionalisation process, it could reasonably be expected (on the basis of the

experiences of cooperation so far) that CFS concepts and methodology will be further strengthened

through the Uzbek institutions themselves.

(25) Future training activities should to an increasing degree focus on the training of trainers (multipliers) at

the identified institutions, particularly in those regions not yet covered by the CFS Project.

(26) In order to support the policy dialogue and institutionalisation process, it is recommended to establish a

small number of “CFS model schools” in those 7 regions not yet covered by the CFS project. This will

not be an expansion of the existing CFS pilot schools, but rather a strategy to provide regional

ministerial authorities with an experimental proof of the benefits of the CFS approach in practice, in

their specific regions. The total amount of “model schools” should be about 10 per region, i.e. a total of

70 schools (equivalent to 10% of the current number of pilot schools).

(27) Parallel to a nation-wide institutionalisation process, attention should be given to an upscaling of the

advocacy campaign for CFS, including coverage of CFS objectives in the mass media, the development

of a CFS website and its posting at Ministry of Public Education web portal, and CFS

orientation/advocacy meetings for different groups of stakeholders. One of the first major events to be

supported could be the National Conference on CFS which will bring all regions together.

(28) The CFS Evaluation Report together with the forthcoming Education Sector Assessment should be

utilised to improve cooperation with international financial institutions (IFIs) and other development

partners, and to create interfaces for future synergies, particularly regarding the strengthening of a

nation-wide impact of the CFS concept.

(29) Within the overarching framework of institutionalisation of CFS concepts, capacity building (at

institutional level) should include the strengthening of monitoring systems at all levels, both regarding

quantitative and qualitative elements. Especially regarding qualitative monitoring of educational

quality, the CFS project can contribute significantly to such a process.



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