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Evaluation report

2014 Bangladesh: Final Evaluation of Basic Education for Hard to Reach Urban Working Children (BEHTRUWC) Project 2nd Phase 2004-2014



Author: Sandra Basgall, Yasmin Ahmed, Muhammad Nazmul Haq and Zia-Us-Sabur

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 BEHTRUWC Phase-2 project was designed as an intervention to address the educational needs of poor urban working slum children. As a follow up to Phase 1, it was also an attempt to accelerate the Bangladesh National Plan of Action for Education for All.

The project was supported by the Government, UNICEF, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and implemented by the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of BNFE under MoPME.

The project had two primary areas of intervention – Basic Education and Livelihood Skills Training. Advocacy and Social Mobilization (with a focus on capacity building, gender considerations) and Program Management, including monitoring and evaluation (M&E), were components of both of these areas.

Purpose/Objective:

The Basic Education for Hard to Reach Urban Working Children (BEHTRUWC) Project- 2nd phase was going to be phased out in June 2014. The Government of Bangladesh and the development partners —particularly SIDA, CIDA and UNICEF - planned to conduct a final evaluation of the project by end of 2013, before it ended officially on 30 June 2014.

A further rationale was the pertinence to document and use lessons from the BEHTRUWC into Education and relevant sector wide programmes for a more inclusive development.

The objective of the evaluation was to measure and examine the outcomes, outputs and strategies of the project in terms of quantity and quality against the set project targets and intended results. It was also intended to evaluate the project results at output and outcome level, particularly, in terms of its contribution to basic education, livelihood skills, social mobilization and communication, gender equality and project management in the context of Bangladesh.

Methodology:

The evaluation was undertaken through combination of desk research, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs), and site observations. However, since the BE program ended October 2011 and the livelihood skills training (LST) in December 2013, it was difficult to locate learners, teachers, supervisors, employers, community members in the field. Thus the fieldwork at the time of evaluation had to take a more qualitative turn and the existing reports, key interviews, and other documents were used for getting the required data. Data collection instruments were used for conducting interviews in Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, and Barisal.

Findings and Conclusions:

Basic Education (BE):  Non formal basic education program (Second Chance Education) was the key component of BEHTRUWC project and it was rated as the most relevant project in Bangladesh to educate urban slum working children and adolescents by most of the respondents. Children and adolescents who got the opportunity to be part of this program were highly enthusiastic, particularly girls who were serious about education and believed it was a way out of early marriage and poverty. Girls performed better in all the subjects. Girls’ performance was equally good in assessment tests.

Livelihood Skills Training (LST): There were altogether 8 NGOs of Bangladesh including BRAC, MAWTS and UCEP involved with Livelihood Skills Training (LST) delivery using four different modalities. The apprenticeship model implemented by BRAC was felt to be more replicable as compared with other models and is currently being piloted in Satkhira with funding from UNICEF. This model involved a 6-month apprentice approach in which skilled practitioners/artisans taught their trade to learners. Many of the trainers hired their graduates when the apprenticeship ended or have maintained mentoring relationships with them.

The LST has demonstrated that girls are willing and able to take up livelihood professions that are traditionally thought to be that of boys, if they are provided with the right conditions. For instance, it was interesting to note that all the children who received training in mobile phone repairing, were girls.

Recommendations:

Basic Education:
1. Undertake a cost benefit analysis of the overall program and components of the project, such as models implemented by NGOs.
2. Conduct a one-year longitudinal study to measure the success of the basic education component.
3. Develop a stipend program to support working children to continue their education.

Livelihood Skills Training
1. Children and community should acquire skills to carry out rapid market assessment on the basis of simple action research principles on a regular basis as the market changes through time and can quickly change with the elimination or addition of some external element;
2. Seed money given to the beneficiaries should be commensurate with the minimum amount needed for business start-up for self-employment. It should be available immediately upon completion of training as it is key to helping learners in their new occupations
3. Provide at least one year of post training support to ensure that the livelihood intervention become sustainable.

Advocacy, Communications and Social Mobilization (ACSM):
1. Massive ACSM campaign on child rights, CRC, and other conventions be designed and geared up at both the local and national levels. Community Mobilization Committees should be trained on Learning Centre management to create ownership and they should play proactive role.
2. Establish more coordination and linkage with other Ministries and NGO networks to maximise efforts.
3. Sharper advocacy strategies be developed to include innovative activities such as publicity by celebrities, children’s concerts, etc. Corporate sector involvement be explored.

Monitoring and Evaluation:
1. A comprehensive and robust RBM&E system needs to be developed for similar projects, if undertaken in future, for a sustainable project performance.
2. Selecting centers based on computer generated random tables for monitoring can cut down workload to a considerable extent and still ensure that the findings are representative.

Lessons Learned:

The BEHTRUWC project, because of its complexity and magnitude faced a number of issues and challenges, just like any other big project of this dimension being implemented under the aegis of the Bureau of Non-formal Education; though it was well planned. It was also a project that accomplished significant achievements in difficult situations and impacted the lives of thousands of children, their families, employers, and communities. People who were reached by the project and who could be reached during evaluation, were appreciative of the project but also showed concerns about the closure of the project.
 
It may be noted that the project created possibilities of sustaining some of its achievements e.g. the curriculum on Second Chance Education integrated the competencies of the formal basic education curriculum. The success of BEHTRUWC, which offered an urban model for Second Chance Education (along with a World Bank supported rural model), led the MoPME to open a separate Division of Second Chance Education in the Directorate of Primary Education under its sub-sector plan – the Primary Education Development Programme (third phase) of the Government of Bangladesh. The Government has establish targets for coverage of out of school children for the period 2016-17, with 2015 reserved for establishing the new Division.



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Report information

Year:
2014

Country:
Bangladesh

Region:
ROSA

Theme:
Education

Type:
Evaluation

Language:
English

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