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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 Bangladesh: Let Us Learn Formative Evaluation



Author: Tristi Nichols

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 Let Us Learn initiative (formerly known as the Basic Education & Equity initiative) is a unique private partnership that allows for flexible and innovative approaches to addressing inequities in education access and outcomes. Challenges and barriers to education, particularly amongst excluded and marginalized children and youth have been identified in five diverse country contexts, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Madagascar and Nepal. Each country is targeting the hardest to reach children by sharpening the equity focus in both programming and monitoring of results. 20 million USD have been designated for the period 2011-2014.

The programme is focused on three equity pillars: reaching out-of-school children, expanding girls’ education and improving quality outcomes for learners. Each programme conducted a country-level evaluation that will also contribute and inform a global-level evaluation.

In Bangladesh the project is targeting three primary key areas, namely (1) improved access to pre- primary education for school readiness for children 5 years old. The other two interlinked components are: (2) Ability-Based Learning for OOSC children 8-14 years old; and (3) Communication for development and social mobilization for OOSC 5-14 years old. Overall, this evaluation focuses on the following areas of PPE component:

- PPE service delivery in terms of availability, accessibility, utilization, adequate and effective coverage through comprehensive district coverage;
- Coordination with Government to ensure the optimum district coverage of PPE service
- Narrowing down the PPE service gaps in the context of equity
- PPE as a course in terms of: relevance – teaching learning package and process, smooth transition to Grade 1; effectiveness – learning achievements, coping with Grade 1 curricula and teaching learning process at primary school; Sustainability – national policy, programmes and standards, national coverage by Government.

Purpose/Objective:

The evaluation was intended to ensure accountability, strengthen any future programming and contribute to the global equity dialogue. Outside of the technical assessment, consideration was also given to improving organisational effectiveness by examining development and implementation processes, as well as programme supervision.

One primary focus of evaluation will be to engage all COs and HQ in a learning process around the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative, documenting new efforts in monitoring for equity, innovations, partnership and good practice. A series of 5 discrete evaluations and a synthesis/consolidation are planned, along with participatory products such as testimonials and ‘most significant change’ stories involving beneficiaries.

Methodology:

The evaluation used a mixed-methods approach, consisting in a review of existing documentation, monitoring and survey data as well as collection of qualitative data in the field. Data sources for the desk review included the following: UNICEF Bangladesh reports; UNICEF Bangladesh targeting and monitoring and evaluation data; monitoring data (collected directly by BRAC, the implementing partner); secondary data from documents from the relevant ministries and previously undertaken surveys, including but not limited to the 2011 Population Census, MICS, and other relevant data produced in-country by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). Qualitative data collection methods included Focus Group Discussions with children, parents and community members, semi-structured interviews with key informants, classroom observations. The evaluator also reviewed photographs and fifteen one-minute junior videos for content relevant to the evaluation questions.

Findings and Conclusions:

Programme monitoring data confirms that the LUL met or exceeded its expected accomplishments by: (1) providing 18,159 children aged 5 years with access pre-primary education with an attendance rate between 92% and 95% (target was 13,500 with a 90% attendance rate) ; (2) equipping 400 learning centers with age appropriate teaching and learning materials functional in all Upazilas of Satkhira district (target was 1,078) and (3) training 1,002 teachers (target was 150 teachers).   

With the absence of baseline data, it is assumed that there were a limited number of or no learning centres before this LUL funding.   It is therefore possible that the following results, based on classroom observations and the teacher’s instruction, would reflect positive changes.   All classrooms included the same core teaching - learning materials, and the daily routine included small and large group activities focused on fine and gross motor skill development.  The observed average child-teacher ratio was 27:1, which is on par with standards. 

In terms of monitoring systems, the evidence shows that the system for Monitoring and Supervision may be uneven in the learning centres. In particular, centres located in the hardest to reach and most remote areas received less monitoring and mentoring support than those located in or close to urban/peri-urban areas. In addition to this, the system for documenting children’s progress and data storage appears inconsistent and is subject to risks as it currently functions.

The evidence suggests that the LUL-funded learning centres are likely to be sustainable in the future as the government is in the process of ‘mainstreaming” ECD services but has not but not yet covered the country in full.  However, the temporary continuation of supporting the rights holder children who face barriers to accessing pre-primary education will still be needed until the government’s pre-primary education system is fully established. 

Recommendations:

i. Targeting future funding into remote areas ought to be prioritised, particularly where the government is least likely to complete its mainstreaming strategy to provide ECD services. The time period when the government’s Ministry of Primary and Mass Education will effectively mainstream efforts of pre-primary education services is not yet definite.  Future funds should therefore be used to support the government and non-government partners to continue extending its outreach to the hard to reach communities.

ii. Plans to address how best to institute an inclusion policy for children with disabilities should be considered at an early stage.  The implementing partner, BRAC, should provide training to teachers in dealing with the special needs of children with disabilities.  

iii. The government and non-government partners and UNICEF should also work together to support the reorganisation of existing accountability systems to ensure that all of the pre-primary education teachers receive the same number of monitoring and mentoring visits per month.  

iv. To ensure that physical environmental threats endemic in Satkhira do not compromise the storage of valuable information about children’s attendance and school and their developmental progress, strategies designed to guarantee data storage ought to be prioritized. The government and non-government partners and UNICEF should work together to create a web-based and/or soft copy information system which includes both children’s administrative records (attendance) and achievements (results of child indicators).  The system for documenting children’s school progress from one education level to the next also appears to have gaps and requires dedicated resources.  These partners should also jointly work on an information system that maintains an individual record for each child’s progress and tracks progress through higher education levels.



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Report information

Year:
2014

Country:
Bangladesh

Region:
ROSA

Theme:
Early Childhood Development

Type:
Evaluation

Language:
English

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