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Evaluation report

2012 Sudan: Evaluation of the Development of an Education Management Information System (EMIS) Project



Author: Dr David B Smith Dr Omer A Elgarrai

Executive summary

Background:

The “Development of an Education Management Information System (EMIS) Project” commenced in September 2008 and, following a ten-month extension from March 2010, finally ended in December 2010. The project was funded by a grant from the 9th EDF. The Federal Ministry of General Education provided office accommodation for the duration of the project.
The project was national in scope, involving development activities in all fifteen states and at the federal ministry. Through the conduct of a national school census, all schools and locality offices were also involved in project activities.
The logical framework for the project identified a purpose and seven results necessary and sufficient for its achievement.
Consultants funded by EU and through UNICEF provided technical support to the project at federal level and in all fifteen states.
The project succeeded in delivering at least part of each planned result but none was entirely achieved.
With the current consultancy inputs of UNICEF and appropriate organisational changes, there are prospects for further progress towards achievement of the project purpose.

Purpose/Objective:

To evaluate the extent to which the project purpose was achieved (Project Preparation, Design and Relevance, efficiency, effectivness, Impact & sustainability)

Methodology:

The consultants conducted interviews with federal and state ministry officials, including planners, IT personnel and statistical officers. During visits to five states, they also observed EMIS operations in SMoEs.
Three questions were considered as central to the task:
• To what extent were the planned results of the project actually delivered?
• Where delivery was incomplete, what were the constraints which caused this to happen?
• What steps can be taken in future to achieve the project purpose?
The methodology had three components: a study of the project documents, including the programme estimate, periodic progress reports and the outputs of various activities; structured interviews with key actors at federal and state levels; and first-hand observation of the EMIS system and its products in the field.

Findings and Conclusions:

The project began very slowly with less than a quarter of the budget expended in the first year, leading to an over-crowded programme in the extension period.
The results were only partly delivered, giving rise to much “unfinished business”.
The EMIS software, in particular, is not yet fully developed; although school data were successfully collected and entered, there is still a dearth of available contemporary information for planning purposes.
Ministry organisation has been reviewed but remains unchanged at all levels.
Further training is needed to strengthen strategic planning, performance assessment and federal support to SMoEs.
Prospects for sustainability are good, subject to:
· completion of software development
· production of enhanced strategic plans
· reorganisation of ministries as required, especially the creation of a home for EMIS in the federal ministry
· government funding for operations and asset maintenance
· provision of further external assistance for training and software completion

Recommendations:

Result 1 Organisational development
· assign education services to an agreed programme structure
· review and plan organisational change, making incremental changes as soon as possible
· establish a body to advise on and oversee strategic planning for the ministry’s programmes
Result 2 EMIS
· further develop software to make it fully functional
· ensure that final payment for out-sourced services is not completed until the outputs are fully functional
· establish a technical committee to advise on the above
· investigate the feasibility of a fully web-based EMIS
· improve the layout of the NSC questionnaire to make it more compatible with the EMIS software and to make it more user-friendly for respondents
· reconsider timing of NSC in the light of annual performance assessment and revision of strategic plans
· task locality offices with manual checking of completed NSC questionnaires
· formally involve finance officials in costing activities for strategic planning
· invoke rigorous procedures to ensure the quality of personnel recruited for state level IT posts
· provide incentive allowances to retain the services of key IT personnel
· amalgamate existing statistics department and education information centre to create a Centre for Education Statistics and Management Information responsible for day-to-day EMIS operations and continuing system development
· temporarily locate EMIS in the statistics department under the management of the director of statistics who will report directly to the State Minister
Results 3 and 4 Strategic planning
· FMoGE to develop templates and manual for state-level strategic planning
· provide further training in costing, budget forecasting and financial estimating for identified federal and state personnel
Result 5 Performance monitoring
· FMoGE to take lead in identifying data requirements

 



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