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2012 Mozambique: End Cycle Evaluation of the Child Friendly Schools Programme, 2006-2011



Author: CfBT Education Trust

Executive summary

"With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is "Outstanding, Best Practice", "Highly Satisfactory", "Mostly Satisfactory" or "Unsatisfactory" before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labeled as 'Part 2' of the report."

Background:

The Child Friendly Schools (CFS) Initiative in Mozambique aims to provide an integrated, minimum quality package to improve the school and learning environment, enhance enrolments, decrease school drop-outs and increase school completion rates in basic education. The initiative, which started in 2006 in one district, was gradually scaled up to cover 7 districts over a period of 3 years. In support of Mozambique’s commitment to achieving MDGs 2 and 3 and the goals of the sector strategic plan, the CFS Initiative was implemented in the most disadvantaged districts of Mozambique with focus on addressing equity and children’s rights in order to upstream and mainstream best practices into the national policy and strategies at decentralized levels. The initiative reached 819 primary schools and 363,000 children. It is continuing to be implemented albeit with a more refined strategy based on recommendations from the annual assessments with greater focus on teacher support and children’s learning levels.

Purpose/Objective:

To assess the impact of the CFS strategy from its inception in 2006 until 2011 against the goals of the sector strategic plan, the specific UNDAF Outputs, the Country Programme Outcomes and the SFA results.

Methodology:

The evaluation aimed to identify school factors that have affected the successful implementation of the CFS principles in Programme schools by means of in-depth school case studies in a carefully stratified sample of schools. A mixed-methods approach was adopted, involving both quantitative and qualitative research. A key limitation was the lack of in-depth investigation of the district-level impact of the CFS initiative.

Findings and Conclusions:

• Upstreaming’ of CFS principles and strategies into national policy and plans has been successful.
• MoE is committed to a multisectoral approach to school improvement, incorporating elements such as gender equality, WASH, school health, school safety and prevention of violence.
• Positive impact in terms of children attending school and staying for a full primary cycle. Completion rates have improved in 6 of the 7 CFS districts; net enrolment is above the provincial average in 5 of the 7 districts; female net enrolment has improved in 4 of the 7 districts, with dramatic improvement in 2 districts. 
• MoE data on pass rates show that on average, schools in 6 of the 7 CFS districts are performing at a similar level to or slightly better than schools in non-CFS districts.
• Children in CFS-supported schools have a generally high level of awareness of how to prevent disease and HIV infection, what vaccines are for and practices to ensure basic hygiene. 
• The CFS Programme has been a relevant intervention. Delivery, with certain exceptions has been effective. Most inputs were assessed as useful or very useful. The longer a district has participated in the Programme the more positive the assessment of school-based respondents.  
• There are high levels of cost variation in CFS expenditure across districts.
• The impact of the Programme has been impacted by the variability in the physical and social conditions that prevail in the schools targeted by the Programme. 
• The school case studies show that there has been considerable success in relation to gender equality, inclusion and child protection.  
• Conditions prevailing at schools do not correlate well with learner achievement.
• Effective management practices were the most powerful factor in successful implementation of the CFS principles. 
• There is strong evidence that not all schools are equally in need of the range of CFS inputs.

Recommendations:

1. The CFS Programme should receive continued and enhanced support from donors.
2. Improved targeting in resource deployment is crucial. 
3. Strengthen multisectoral Programme management.  
4. Some of the more remote districts are more in need of capacity building interventions.  
5. Assess the capacity of each participating district to provide relevant inputs without donor support.
6. Undertake school-based needs assessments to prioritise CFS inputs.
7. Gaps identified in the district capacity assessment should inform future donor funding for CFS-oriented activities. 
8. Provide the highly prized learners’ kits and school desks to all learners though a relatively expensive CFS input.
9. Develop a benchmarking framework to determine the intensity of training needed for school directors, school council members and teachers. 
10. Impact of training on children’s learning should be monitored. 
11. A study of the unit costs of CFS inputs should be undertaken to determine funding allocations. 
12. District health officials should take responsibility for administering tests of children’s health-related attitudes and knowledge and Ministry of Health to develop an effective strategy to ensure the replenishment of first aid kits.
13. Since more classrooms are needed, lessons learned in the pilot of the modular construction methodology, though relatively expensive,  should inform construction strategy in the future. 
14. Expand provision of water sources and toilets. 
15. Government provision for maintenance of and repairs to infrastructure provided to schools should be assessed. 

Lessons Learned:

• More intensive training of teachers, school directors and school council members. 
• Capacity building to strengthen the management of the multisectoral approach at district level. 
• Strong school management is a critical element in school performance.
• Many schools are still in need of basic infrastructure, water sources and toilets. Where these inputs have been provided, maintenance is a critical need.
• Needs-based targeting is needed at district level to support mainstreaming and upscaling and contribute to reducing implementation costs. 
• A school benchmarking framework is important to ensure better targeting for implementation of school quality standards and for resource allocation. 



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