Mid Term Review of the Quality Education Project, Udayapur
Background and Context Save the Children Norway in collaboration with department of education and district education office is implementing quality education programme (QEP) in Udayapur district through partnership with Ilaka (Ilaka Child Development Committee). The quality education programme consists of ECD opportunities for younger children, school support programme, teacher training, child club promotion, parents awareness, scholarship support to deprived children, educational material support to schools etc.. To review the status of the programme implementation and to generate information on the effects, effectiveness and efficiency of the project for ensuring quality education opportunity to children especially girls and the marginalized, this mid-term review was conducted through an independent external team of experts in November 2007. Purpose / objective as specified in the terms of reference: • To map out the work of Ilaka and assess and document the strengths and major achievements of the project in the last one and half years in promoting quality education under RTF components. • To assess to what extent the project has contributed to achieve the partnership goals and contributed to the achievements of objectives particularly looking at: i) changes in children’s life, ii) increased capacity of local institutions and authorities, ii) progress towards reducing discriminatory practices, iv) increasing inclusion and participation of marginalized groups/children. • To identify challenges, constraints, emerging issues, opportunities and lessons learnt, over the past few years of partnership and explore priorities, strategies and areas of cooperation and support for future partnership. Key Findings • The community has taken responsibility of school management. They have developed the sense of ownership of the school. Formation and strengthening of Tole education committee has been found to be effective. The committee visits every house within the tole and encourages parents to send their children to school. With this effort number of school age children going to school has increased significantly. • Teachers are regular in their duties. They come on time in the morning and teach full school hours. Teacher’s contribution to the learning of the students has become more effective. They have adopted active learning strategies and are using innovative learning teaching resources. • The child clubs are active in organizing activities such as general knowledge competition, debate and street drama reflecting real situation of children and the society. Parents are invited to observe these activities which have helped to increase their awareness on the importance of education. • Corporal punishment used to be given to children before, now this has been changed. Grade 1 & 2 in the project supported schools have child friendly environment. However, other classrooms, where the project does not have any kind of intervention, are not that child friendly. • DEO’s involvement in school activities is encouraging. Even for small 1-2 day programs, the DEO visits schools and attend the program. This is a good sign of ownership of the DEO. • Children have overcome their shyness and have gained confidence to speak with strangers. Children are invited as representative in various meetings at the village and the district level which has helped them to articulate their issues and concerns. • Ilaka has developed a CEMIS system with regular flow of community information. CEMIS is proved to be useful in tracking school going age children and their schooling status, developing SIP, identifying the main problems related to children and potential programmes to overcome them. • The project is successful in improving physical and teaching learning environment in the project supported schools. Recommendations • SIP has been made, but the schools are not clear about the use of SIP and mostly it is not implemented. Reorientation and technical support is needed to enable the schools to use SIP effectively. • Quality improvement initiatives are limited to lower grades (grade 1 &2) only. Teachers in the higher grades lack training and access to relevant teaching materials. To improve quality of the overall education situation in schools, the programme also needs to focus its activities in the higher grades also. • VCPCs were found to be not active as anticipated by the project document. Similarly inadequate intervention and advocacy about protection of children’s rights were observed. Program or activities related to child protection including strengthening VCPCs need to be added. • Some school buildings which were constructed were found to be structurally questionable. Technical support is needed when constructing classrooms for children. • Systematic result-based monitoring and evaluation system is lacking, which needs to be designed and implemented. Capacity needs to be strengthened on M&E concepts at the SCNN and PNGO level. • Most of the schools are still in shortage of separate and special facilities that both younger and older girls need, separate toilets for girl students should be supported and managed in some of the schools. • Frequency of interaction of project staff and stakeholders is not adequate. TEC, SMC, & PTA need further input for carrying out their roles and responsibilities effectively. • Successful experiences from this project can be used for improving other Re-Write The future projects. The DOE can adopt the successful practices of the project. • Girl child’s traditional role in assisting the mother for household chores has limited their opportunities for education and learning. Therefore interventions in increasing gender awareness at the family and community level is needed. • Project like this with an aim to change quality education, human attitudes, behavior and habits require long term efforts. The project duration should be extended with a strategic plan for transforming interventions from project approach to programme approach. • A clear phase out plan and strategy should be developed in coordination with DEO, Ilaka, Seto Gurans, and Children Development Services and should be implemented for ensuring continuity and sustainability of the impacts and achievements. • Bringing all school age children in school is important, providing them with quality education in a healthy and joyful environment is more important for their retention. Therefore, project efforts needs to be focused further in maintaining quality improvement. • Project (through ILAKA) has provided supplementary teachers to support project schools. But how to sustain those temporary teachers in future when project support ends is a challenge which needs to be considered seriously. • Possibility of collaborating with “skill for employment project” being implemented in Udayapur district for addressing the skill training and employment needs of youths should be explored. Comments of the Organization; if any Developing and establishing sustainability measures and phase out strategy for the smooth exit of the programme activities have been given priority in the next year plan and will continue beyond 2008 also. Technical support for the construction of the school buildings have been managed through capacitating government service system. Capacity building measures for school teachers, PNGO staff and the community stakeholders are being addressed in the future programme plan. A result based monitoring and evaluation system will be established and staff capacity on result based M&E system will be developed.