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Evaluation report

2015 Maldives: Review of the Life Skills Education Programme



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 Maldivian Ministry of Education (MoE) has initiated an extra-curricular Life Skills Education (LSE) Program for secondary schools students and out of school children in 2004. This program was developed with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and focused on aspects related to Adolescents Sexual and Reproductive Health. From 2011 to 2015, UNICEF Maldives supported the Ministry of Education to develop and implement Life skills education to: 

  1. Boost students’ knowledge and skills to enhance their personal and social competence to resist risky situations that impact on their well‐being such as drugs, HIV/AIDS, sexual health and others.
  2. To strengthen institutional capacity at the Ministry of Education and schools to roll out the school-based Life Skills Education (LSE) programme for students in secondary schools across the country.

In December 2015, within the framework of the end of the Country Programme 2011-2015, UNICEF Maldives commissioned an evaluation to:

  1. Review the progress achieved so far
  2. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the programme, challenges encountered and propose recommendation to addressing them. 
  3. Review the national curriculum and curriculum materials to identify how LSE is integrated and to make recommendations to strengthen delivery through the curriculum.

The review specifically assessed issues of relevance, coverage, efficiency of delivery, effectiveness, sustainability of the Life Skills Education programme. Key findings of the review identified several strengths in the design and implementation of the programme, highlight a certain number of weaknesses in the implementation of the programme. and formulate recommendations to the Ministry of Education and UNICEF.

Purpose/Objective:

UNICEF Maldives and the MoE wished to conduct a review of the relevance, coverage, efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of the LSE program in 2015. As defined in its ToR (Annex 7), this exercise will primarily:

  1. Review the progress achieved so far
  2. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the programme, challenges encountered and means of addressing the challenges.
  3. Review the new national curriculum and curriculum materials to identify how LSE is integrated and to make recommendations to strengthen delivery through the curriculum.
  4. Undertake a cost analysis of the Programme to strengthen the results based management of the programme and make recommendations for efficient delivery of the Programme – going forward.
  5. Identify students’ knowledge of life skills, students’ perceptions on the importance of LSE, and their perceived benefits in their day-to-day life and how students think LSE can be improved.

Methodology:

Data collection, sampling and analysis.

The review methodology is mostly qualitative. Data collection methods included:

  • A documents review included legal and policy documents, project documents, curriculum, training materials, teaching resources, studies etc.  List of documents reviewed in Annex 3.
  • Consultations with 18 key stakeholders took place though individual semi structured interviews with persons who have played an essential role in the LSE program or who represent organization who have held LSE programmes. List of key stakeholders interviewed in Annex 4.
  • Observation of LSE tools and activities were planned but could not take place because the review was scheduled during the students’ examinations and over a very short timeframe.
  • Consultations with 36 teachers and other life skills facilitators took place in four schools. School personnel participated in Focus Group Discussion (FGD) facilitated by the consultant to discuss specific questions and make recommendations on the different points examined in the review.
  • Consultations with 118 children also took place in 4 schools. Students of different grade classes participated to a FGD using child/youth friendly methodologies (drawings, games, active discussions – see below). 
  • Consultations with 28 parents took place in the 4 schools visited.

Findings and Conclusions:

Findings:

  • The concept of LSE is well understood and valued by policy makers as well as by the different stakeholders at school level (students, teachers and parents).  For instance, teachers have very high perception of benefits of LSE on the behaviour of children, students think they should receive more LSE and parents interviewed think children should receive more LSE, particularly generic skills.
  • There is very high level commitment to institutionalize LSE in schools.  The programme is fully aligned with the Child-friendly Schools framework and the School Improvement, Quality Assessment and Accountability Framework (SIQAAF).
  • A broad set of Life Skills starting from pre-school are integrated in the new National Education Curriculum which is being rolled out since 2015.  This is a good strategy for mainstreaming LSE, and further sustaining it in schools.
  • The LSE program design is appropriate (as per 2011 operational framework). The content, methodology and materials are age appropriate and adapted to the needs and situations of students.
  • The quality of training provided to LSE facilitators was high and had a good coverage.
  • There are no clear operational guidelines or standards used in implementation of the LSE program. Ufaa, the implementing department within the Ministry of Education, has however drafted guidelines for LSE facilitators in 2015, and though not yet finalized, they are providing some level of guidance to the facilitators.
  • There was limited monitoring / assessments of LSE program despite, the Scheme for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Life Skills Programmes presenting possible monitoring and evaluation systems. No data providing information on the implementation of the LSE program appears to be recorded and collated.
  • Program is overall not getting high results for its inputs. LSE education to students in secondary school is happening in a limited and non-consistent fashion, outside of the established standards.

Recommendations:

  • MoE to ensure that LSE components part of the new National Education Curriculum are effectively implemented
  • MoE to reinforce extra-curricular LSE program to complement curriculum based LSE and to reach children out of school.
  • MoE to participate to the reinforcement of the national and atoll based child protection systems.
  • UNICEF to support MoE to roll out the new National Education Curriculum effectively.
  • UNICEF to support MoE to design a capacity building system (building upon the existing TRC scheme) for schools to benefit from practical support and hands on capacity building.
  • UNICEF should support MoE to gradually transform the LSE activity of Ufaa, from being a “core” service provider to becoming a more specialized service provider that would be fillings gaps in the curriculum based LSE and providing services to out of school children and youth.

Lessons Learned:

Capacity building of school personnel has to be school based and focus on practical support and assistance. The cascade Training of Trainers used over the last 4 years to train school based stakeholders on the LSE program has not been sufficient to ensure the systematic implementation of LSE in schools. Field based training would allow to solve issues such as the identification of the materials to be used and would allow the possibility for peer training among school stakeholders working in close by islands.

LSE program has best been implemented when “LSE teams” formed at the school level and worked cooperatively (see case study 4). This allowed for creative initiatives to be established and for the sessions to sustain longer period of times. Involvement of the school principal is also a key component to success.

There are encouraging signs that the “whole school approach”, engaging students, parents, teachers, school management and other potential stakeholders such as NGOs can lead to the effective implementation of LSE covering issues usually perceived as sensitive.

Internal strategic exercises have to be regular within the body coordinating the LSE program (at a minimum on a bi-yearly basis) and feed from continuous monitoring, to ensure program implementation is up to standards and that improvements to be made are identified and planned for. 



Full report in PDF

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Report information

Year:
2015

Country:
Maldives

Region:
ROSA

Theme:
Education

Type:
Evaluation

Language:
English

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