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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2018 Zimbabwe: Summative Evaluation of UNICEF support for Education in Zimbabwe

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 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 3’.


  1. This Evaluation Report is for the summative evaluation of UNICEF Support for Education in Zimbabwe, as provided through the Education Development Fund (EDF I) from 2012 to 2015 and the Global Partnership for Education fund (GPE I) from 2014 – 2016.
  2. The terms of reference (TOR) (UNICEF, 2017c, section 1.4, and also in Annex A) state clearly that the main objective of this evaluation is “to assess the effect of the UNICEF support for education in Zimbabwe as provided through EDF and GPE”.
  3. The EDF priority areas examined were specifically: Schools and Systems Governance, Teaching and Learning, and Second Chance Education. For GPE the following areas were covered: Professional development for better teaching and learning, Supervision and management of teacher performance and development, and Strengthened strategic planning leading to the MoPSE’s Education Sector Strategic Plan.
  4. The total budget for EDF, for the period under review, was USD142,192,801.00, and for GPE it was USD23,600,158.00. In total the budget for the two programmes was USD165,792,959.


Eight evaluation objectives were specified in the TOR, namely to,

  • Assess the programme design (including theory of change (TOC)1), coordination, management and administrative structures;
  • Assess the effect of EDF and GPE interventions on the revitalization of the education sector and the extent to which they have contributed to the system “achieving universal and equitable access to quality education services for all Zimbabwean children”;
  • Evaluate performance of the EDF and the GPE against outcome and impact indicators and identify factors contributing to change;
  • Assess the effect of the programme on capacity of the education system at national, provincial, district and school levels;
  • Examine whether, and how, financial resources were utilized to ensure best value for money (VfM);
  • Identify and document innovations and critical lessons that can be learned from the implementation of the EDF and the GPE and their policy and programmatic implications;
  • Assess the effect of contextual and organisational factors on implementation progress and programme effectiveness; and,
  • Assess whether the various components [of] the two programmes have been implemented in a cost-efficient way to deliver value for money without compromising quality of interventions.


The full evaluation approach and tools, as agreed with UNICEF, are outlined in the Inception Report (IR) (Mokoro, 2017b), further discussion pertaining specifically to the survey can be found in Annex I, and the list of schools visited can be found in Annex N.  Accordingly, this is a theory-based mixed-methods evaluation, adopting an approach deemed to be appropriate to the stage reached by the EDF and the GPE in Zimbabwe to date, and to the nature of the data available for review.


As a result of the evaluation, the evaluation team came to a series of conclusions based on lessons learnt from the evidence gathered, including:

  • Schools visited were largely overwhelmed by all the interventions introduced simultaneously, and thus they would have benefitted from better sequencing and prioritising before rolling out fewer interventions.
  • Both EDF and GPE should have reacted more quickly and decisively to the failure of the Government of Zimbabwe to meet its commitments to the two programmes. This should have included trimming the programmes, and mobilising the development partners to take greater ownership of their investments to ‘help steer the ship’.
  • Financial management issues have trumped equity issues, especially with regard to SIG. Better forward planning might have prevented this situation from occurring.
  • The absence of a programme-wide approach to monitoring and of a clear articulation of programme M&E with the emerging sector-wide monitoring process has hampered the ability to track progress and report against sector outcomes and link this in a plausible manner to programme progress.
  • The absence of an appropriate change management process within MoPSE may have undermined the effect certain interventions had at school level.
  • Continuous dialogue on sustainability issues and a clear plan for gradual decrease of external funding of the sector would have helped ensure that the sector is better equipped to cope with steep drops in resourcing (e.g. SIG 2016) or resource provision ending.
  • The approach to addressing inequality varied per activity, especially with regard  to wealth inequalities. Whilst comprehensive data on this may be available only infrequently, greater use should have been made of existing data (such as the ZELA report 2015, the EMIS data on school fees and funding, and reports from outside of the sector), that indicated that such inequalities were not reducing.
  • Teachers need ICT training; they require training in developing materials for the new curriculum and syllabus interpretation.
  • Much of the success of the new curriculum will hinge on the availability of relevant textbooks to all schools. Currently there is a dearth of these books in rural schools, despite the success achieved by the ETF previously.


Recommendations are set out on pages xvii to xxiii, based on the findings we made during field work. We would suggest that they are still relevant to the current phase.

Full report in PDF

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Report information






Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education


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