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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2001 Bangladesh: An Evaluation of the Integrated Nonformal Education Program in Bangladesh (Final Report)



Author: Uniconsult International Limited

Executive summary

Background

The Integrated Nonformal Education Program (INFEP), extending over 82 thanas (spread over 64 districts), was implemented during July 1991 - June 1997 at a total cost of Tk. 875.235 million of which 28% came as GOB grant and 72% as project aid from four donors viz. UNICEF, UNDP, NORAD, and SIDA.

Purpose / Objective

The evaluation addressed three programs: (i) Non-formal education (NFE) for adolescents; (ii) adult literacy; and (iii) continuing education for neoliterates. It aimed at determining the strengths and weaknesses of the Integrated Non-formal Education Program (INFEP) in terms of specific indicators, highlighting answers to such questions as: Were the objectives of INFEP achieved? To what extent? Was the program cost-effective? What were some of the factors associated with performances at various levels? What were the divergences between the intended targets and achievements?

Methodology

The study is based on both primary and secondary data. A desk review of basic documents was conducted that included: earlier evaluation and monitoring reports; materials developed, including the primers, teachers' guides, training manuals, and continuing education materials; and reports on workshops and seminars organized.

Prior to selection of samples, stratification was done according to: (i) administrative division; (ii) government-managed or NGO-run learning centers; (iii) centers for males and females; and (iv) earlier or recent centers. A sample survey was conducted in 14 thanas of the 82 thanas the program was implemented in. The sample of the study included: (i) 505 learning centers (156 for adolescents and 349 for adults), (ii) 4,990 learners (1,552 adolescents and 3,438 adults), (iii) 503 literacy teachers, (iv) 93 literacy supervisors, (v) 124 illiterates not enrolled in any learning center (as a control group), (vi) 102 dropouts, (vii) 545 key persons, including community leaders, NGO representatives, and officials at the thana and district levels, (viii) 36 rural libraries or Gram Shikkha Milan Kendras (GSMKs), (ix) 36 librarians of GSMKs, (x) 12 supervisors of GSMKs, (xi) 21 members of GSMK management committees, (xii) 84 neoliterates, (xiii) 24 illiterate learners of GSMKs, (xiv) 12 District Coordinators, and (xv) 21 Program Coordinators of NGOs.

Besides field survey, a two-day workshop (24-25 October 1997) was organized to generate thinking on INFEP's curricula, teaching-Iearning and training materials, and its monitoring and evaluation system including its MIS.

Key Findings and Conclusions

An overwhelming proportion of the learners (adolescents 99.55%; adults 99.04%) were satisfied with the environment of the learning centers. One can translate this satisfaction in terms of timely availability of books and other reading materials, well-motivated teachers, availability of physical space for the center, and a supportive role by the community. About 70% of the sample adolescent learners and 47% of the sample adult learners considered their respective course duration to be adequate. 65.12% of the learners believed that their social status had improved as a result of their enrollment in learning center, 53.67% felt that their participation in the program had a positive influence on their standard of living. The most perceptible difference took place in the realm of life-skill-related matters (both for adolescents and adults) e.g. in the knowledge of sanitary latrine, dowry (as a social crime), and early marriage of girls (as undesirable).

The training given to the teachers was found to be inadequate. Both the teachers and the supervisors favored a longer duration training program for the teachers. About 97% of the supervisors of the learning centers reported that the teaching-learning materials were supplied on time. 81% thought that the supply was adequate and 92% felt that the quality of the materials was very good or good.

When a comparison was made between the government-managed and the NGO-run centers, it was found that the latter were more frequently visited by the supervisors. While a government-managed center was visited about 3.8 times a month, an NGO-run center was visited 4 times a month. While visiting the centers, the supervisors observed a number of weaknesses: low learner attendance, unsatisfactory progress of learners, infrequent management committee meetings, inadequate refresher training for teachers, and less than ideal teaching method. The supervisors reported a number of problems in discharging their duties efficiently, e.g. lack of transport, distance between learning centers, and lack of adequate support from the senior officials.

In most of the learning centers for adolescents and adults, 30 learners were enrolled, but the average daily attendance in most of the centers was 21-25 learners. There was hardly any difference in the attendance of males and females. However, average daily attendance in government-managed adult literacy centers was higher than in the NGO-run centers (government-managed centers: 26.58; NGO-run centers: 23.37).

The dropout rate was calculated from the difference in the number of learners enrolled and the number completing the course. The overall dropout rates for adolescents and adults were found to be 7.76% and 9.17% respectively. The female dropout rate was slightly higher than that of males. No significant difference was found in the dropout rates of government-managed and NGO-run centers. The major causes of dropping out of the learning centers were reported to be: (i) clash with household work and (ii) effect on income earning.

The success rates at the internal final examinations for adolescent and adult learners were 87.22% and 86.09% respectively. At the tests given by this study, the overall mean scores were 65.40 for adolescents and 65.48 for adults. The proportions of adolescents and adults achieving a total score of 60 and above (out of 100) were 64.76% and 66.22% respectively. For the adolescent learners, the overall mean score for females was higher than that of males, but for adult learners, the overall mean score for males was higher than that of females. In the case of both adolescent and adult learners, the overall achievement of the recent phase (January 1995-June 1997) was higher than that of the earlier phase (July 1991-December 1994). No significant difference was found between overall mean scores of adult learners of government-managed and NGO-run centers.

To make INFEP more successful, the teachers observed that more consciousness-raising social movement, complimentary credit program, better training for teachers/supervisors, more effective participation of the local community, improved physical space for learning centers and other similar complimentary arrangements were required.

The rural libraries or GSMKs, set up under INFEP, also served as literacy centers for the illiterates as well as those who dropped out of INFEP or failed to achieve the minimum literacy level. The librarians of GSMKS mentioned that the neoliterates visited GSMKs mainly for reading books and newspapers, practicing the literacy skills, listening to the news and other radio programs, and participating in recreational activities. While 83.33% of the librarians were of the opinion that GSMK was sufficient for continuing education and post-literacy activities, 16.6 7% considered it to be not sufficient. Most of the supervisors also were of the opinion that the GSMKs were adequate for the purpose of retaining the literacy skills.

While 96.15% of the illiterates felt that their expectations from GSMKs were attained, 75.61% of the neoliterates held the same opinion. An overwhelming majority of the neoliterates (92.68%) and illiterates (96.15%) considered GSMK to be adequate as a means of sustaining literacy skills. One supervisor was responsible for monitoring the activities of 10 GSMKs in a thana. Each GSMK was supposed to have a managing committee. This study revealed that in some cases, there were no managing committees and, in some other cases, the committees did not function properly (of the 36 sample GSMKs, 3 reported that they did not have a managing committee).

The librarians and supervisors made the following recommendations: for effective functioning of GSMKs: (i) establishing permanent GSMKs; (ii) increasing honoraria of librarians and supervisors; (iii) supplying TV and more to newspapers to GSMK; (iv) introducing credit facilities in GSMKs; and (v) imparting training on income-generating activities.

Recommendations

INFEP has been a reasonably successful experiment. It has created an enthusiasm and has led to new projects in non-formal education. It has covered 82 thanas. It will be necessary to bring the remaining 408 thanas under similar or more effective programs/projects.

A high priority should be accorded to NFE and adult literacy over the next one decade. To this end, there is a need for formulating new policies and strategies in the following areas:

(a) restructuring DNFE;
(b) designing an effective training program for the literacy personnel at various levels;
(c) strengthening, monitoring, supervision, and MIS;
(d) developing appropriate teaching-Iearning-testing materials;
(e) establishing viable continuing education centers;
(f) linking the literacy program with programs for fighting poverty;
(g) increasing involvement of NGOs and organized local groups in NFE; and
(h) establishing linkage between NFE and the formal school system.



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Report information

Date:
2001

Region:
ROSA

Country:
Bangladesh

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Education - Non Formal

Partners:

PIDB:

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
2001/800

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