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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2013 Zimbabwe: School Grants Pilot Baseline Evaluation



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, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report."

Background:

The School Improvement Grant (SIG) programme aims "to provide financially constrained schools with enough resources to address their most basic needs and to meet a minimum set of school functionality criteria with the aim of improving the quality of teaching and learning at the school level and reducing user fee costs for vulnerable children".

The SIG is a component of the second phase of the Education Development Fund (EDF). The EDF is a multi-donor trust fund which enables donors to jointly support the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education5 (MoPSE) in its activities, with UNICEF managing the funds and providing technical support.

Purpose/Objective:

The School Improvement Grant (SIG) programme aims "to provide financially constrained schools with enough resources to address their most basic needs and to meet a minimum set of school functionality criteria with the aim of improving the quality of teaching and learning at the school level and reducing user fee costs for vulnerable children"1.

The SIG is a component of the Education Development Fund (EDF). The EDF is a multi-donor trust fund which enables donors to jointly support the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education2 (MoPSE) in its activities, with UNICEF managing the funds and providing technical support.

The SIG programme has four proposed phases (only the pilot and rollout phases are funded under the EDF): a pilot phase, a rollout phase, an expansion phase and an integration phase3. Only the pilot phase and the rollout phase are funded under the EDF. This current report is the evaluation of the pilot.

The aim of this current report is to present an analysis of the School Improvement Grant pilot in 132 schools (100 schools in Goromonzi District and 32 special schools in seven provinces from around Zimbabwe – see Figures 1.1 and 1.2) which will inform the rollout of the SIG to 7,000 target schools comprising special, satellite, P3 and S3 schools (P3 and S3 are rural primary and rural secondary schools respectively). The questions answered by this report include whether the grant reached all of the pilot schools and what is the impact of the grant on these schools.

Methodology:

Research Approach

The analysis is derived from a desk study of the relevant documentation as well as interviews with key informants in MoPSE, stakeholders at school level (school heads, school development committee members, teachers, learners and parents), relevant education partners and UNICEF, as well as the reported findings from the baseline, process review and visits to pilot schools.

Findings and Conclusions:

The pilot was a success. The pilot schools all received training on school development and financial management, all of the SDPs are adequate (they were approved by MoPSE as adequate for funding), most of the schools have received all of their disbursements and most schools have spent their grants. There were signs that the grants are leading to improvements in the teaching and learning environments, which is the first part of the objective statement for the School Grants programme.

The approach through the development of SDPs and financial management training has taken a whole school approach which includes the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders. It has respected the opinions of those who know what is needed for a school, dealt with the unique situation of each school and created a programme owned by the people. This has increased the community involvement in the schools and re-energized the schools.

Due to only the base-line being carried out there was no opportunity to observe reductions in fees and levies, which was the latter part of the objective statement for the School Grants programme. This could be due to the length of time that the programme has been running being insufficient for changes to be observed (there was also no before and after data concerning this) or it could be that in the current economic environment that makes this is not a possibility. For there to be a fee reduction or abolition there must be sustained and increased funding from Government. To avoid the programme being a "failure" it is proposed that the aim of the School Improvement Grant programme be changed to: "Improved learning outcomes through improved planning, better learning outcomes and increased parental involvement". Donors’ views on this have not been sought and will need to be taken into account if the aim is to be changed.

The design framework for the school grants emphasized that for the grant to work, that planning, management and monitoring, and financial management systems must be improved. The whole school development process and financial management training have been accomplished. However, the Grants Management Team (GMT), which plays key roles in the planning and management of the grants, is still not operational. There is no evidence of monitoring and evaluation systems having been developed and established. Although there were provincial links set up for Goromonzi, there was no evidence of this being done for the Special Needs schools, as the Provincial Education Department for Harare, which had the most special needs schools, only played a monitoring role in the training and was not aware of whether their schools had received the grants.

Recommendations:

It is recommended that payments continue to the pilot schools as scheduled. For the initiation of the rollout the GMT should be established with dedicated staff, the monitoring and evaluation framework for all levels of MoPSE should be designed, established and the relevant training done on the implementation of the framework, issues of bank accounts should be resolved and the GMT database populated with school data. A delay in the first disbursement is thus recommended until these critical prerequisites are met.

See Annex L for more detail on recommendations.



Full report in PDF

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Report information

Year:
2013

Country:
Zimbabwe

Region:
ESARO

Theme:
Education

Type:
Evaluation

Language:
English

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