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Evaluation report

2017 Ghana: Evaluation Report of the UNICEF Ghana Education Programme (2012–2017): A Capacity Building Perspective



Author: Clement Adamba, Claire Nowlin, and Hannah Ring

Executive summary

 With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 3’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 4’.

Background:

Inadequate capacity within the education sector in Ghana is often identified as a critical constraint in limiting improvements in student learning outcomes. Therefore, capacity development (CD) and related interventions received considerable funding and attention from UNICEF in its current Education Programme (2012-17). UNICEF commissioned this evaluation to learn about the strengths and challenges of its previous CD activities and to inform future CD interventions in the education sector. In addition, this evaluation is also intended to inform UNICEF’s future efforts to effectively evaluate CD interventions.

Purpose/Objective:

The guiding evaluation questions were:
Relevance
• To what extent are the CD-related interventions relevant to and appropriate for achieving the desired results?
• Are the choices of interventions and methods appropriate and responsive to the needs of the sector?
• Do CD interventions target the appropriate individuals, organizations, and/or policies?
Effectiveness
• What changed as a result of the CD interventions?
• What has been learnt along the way that might be of use when carrying out future capacity building work?
Perceived Impacts & Sustainability
• Did CD activities have an impact on the performance of the participating individuals, organizations, and institutions?
• Did CD interventions result in sustainable change in individual behaviour or practice?

Methodology:

For this evaluation, we employed complementary qualitative and quantitative methods to answer key research questions about the effectiveness, relevance, perceived impacts, and sustainability of CD interventions in the education sector. Data were collected between January and March, 2017. The evaluation is necessarily retrospective, as the interventions of interest took place during UNICEF’s 2012–2017 Education Programme. Given the relatively limited documentation available and the absence of a rigorous monitoring framework for UNICEF-supported CD activities, the evaluation required triangulation of information from a variety of sources, using a variety of methods: Focus group discussions (FGDs); Key informant interviews (KIIs); School observations; and Surveys.

Ten FGDs were carried out with school management committees (SMCs), teachers, and students at both case study schools, as well as with District Training Support Team (DTST) members in the two evaluation districts. Twenty-five KIIs were conducted with key informants at the school, district, regional, and national levels. Six observations were completed in three randomly selected academic classes at each of the two case study schools. Also, two surveys were administered: a district-level survey with 40 schedule officers across 8 UNICEF-supported districts and a teacher survey with 100 teachers across 10 UNICEF-supported districts.

Findings and Conclusions:

Below are the key findings of the evaluation:
• Respondents found the teaching and learning-focused trainings were well organised and implemented, and teachers consistently referenced applying the concepts learned from various trainings, in particular, the child-friendly schools (CFS) training.
• While respondents described the application of these concepts more than those of other trainings inquired about by the evaluation team, they also acknowledged the constraints they faced in practice due to limited availability of child-friendly teaching and learning materials. In addition, findings also suggest that teachers (not only head teachers) need refresher trainings on the proper use of the CFS checklist, hinting at the limitations of a one-off training model.
• District officers and teachers emphasised that, while the teaching and learning support received thus far has been valuable, teachers are also in need of CD support related to core subjects such as reading and math, highlighting the need for trainings to keep pace with changing needs.
• Respondents also highlighted several challenges related to the timing, organisation, and perceived sustainability of teaching and learning trainings, as some stated that teachers were not given enough time to apply one set of concepts in the classroom before being trained on another.
• The methods used in these trainings are highly participatory, and materials received are realistic planning tool for CD activities.
• Trainings were supply-driven rather than based off of formalised needs assessments, that trainings largely targeted individual capacity rather than organisational or institutional levels of capacity within the education sector.
• lack of consistent and rigorous monitoring taking place that specifically examines how the concepts and tools acquired from each training are being used at schools and in classrooms, as well as whether these changes are having an impact on student learning outcomes.

Recommendations:

Based on the findings of the study, the following have been recommended:
• UNICEF should support an education-focused needs assessment at the district level to identify current capacity levels and gaps as well as the local resources available to support future CD processes at schools and district offices.
• Trainings should be designed that balance teachers’ needs in both cross-cutting teaching methodologies and concepts within core subjects such as Maths and English.
• UNICEF should support and facilitate a formalised education coordination system involving active stakeholders not only at the national level, but also at the regional and district levels, to ensure that CD support is evenly spaced and delivered across and within districts by education actors.
• Weaknesses of the cascade model should be taken into consideration, and in order to mitigate them CD efforts should incorporate more cluster-based trainings that connect teachers with training facilitators directly and also allow for frequent face to face interactions.
• Given resource constraints, creating a platform on a tool already used regularly by educators (such as Whatsapp) could facilitate this connection and would only require UNICEF to support district officers in moderating discussions and providing advice to particularly challenging topics.
• UNICEF should strengthen structures such as the SMC and PTA so they become functional bodies that can play a role in monitoring and strengthening accountability systems.
• UNICEF should design future support that directly targets CD within the education sector at the organisational and institutional environment levels
• Develop a comprehensive M&E framework to ensure that the uptake and application of future CD efforts are monitored regularly at the regional, district and school levels.
• Monitoring data should inform a feedback loop and contribute to the learning process around how CD is occurring amongst education stakeholders.



Full report in PDF

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Report information

Year:
2017

Country:
Ghana

Region:
WCAR

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Education

Partners:
Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Education and UNICEF

Language:
English

Sequence:
2017/024

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