On 6th November, 2018, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), in collaboration with the European Union, implemented a 1 Day Review Workshop, aimed at better understanding the monitoring and evaluation requirements needed, to effectively implement the technical assistance and programme implementation components of the “Support to the Education Sector Programme” funded by the European Union under the 11th European Union Development Fund (EDF).
Opening the 1 Day Workshop, Mr. Umaru. G. Sesay, Imprest Administrator of the Programme Coordination and Compliance Unit of the (MBSSE) speaking on behalf of the Minister Hon. Alhaji Timbo, called on all participants to recognize the critical role that is played through effective monitoring and evaluation of Government programmes and in particular that of the Education Sector. He observed that by bringing the sector representatives together, the group would collectively provide key information needed to complete any gaps that may exist in the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework that would be further improved during the workshop.
Under the technical guidance of the lead facilitator Dr. Joachim Pfaffe, participants reviewed and refined over 50 key indicators covering three key objectives of the programme namely: Improved Education Systems Management; Better Primary School Teaching and Learning and Equal opportunity for Boys and Girls to attend Secondary School. During his 3-week short term assignment, the consultant met various departments of the education sector and provided technical assistance to improve their monitoring and evaluation capacities.
Participants were drawn from various sectors of the ministry including Non-Formal Education, Primary and Secondary Education and the Teaching Service Commission and the Programme Coordination and Compliance Unit. The meeting provided an opportunity to enhance basic knowledge among some participants on monitoring and evaluation and establish baselines and refine key indicators of the “Programme Estimate”, that is the direct financial support provided by the European Union for a wide set of activities to support the education sector.
Describing the value of the workshop, one of the participants, Mr. Emmanuel V. Deoud, Development Partners Desk Officer, in the Programme Coordination and Compliance Unit of the MBSSE said that “Monitoring and Evaluation is key in the management of projects and programmes and even policies. Without it, we will not be in a position to plan well; neither would we be able to track our progress or failure.”
Also commenting on the need to prioritize monitoring and evaluation, in programme imple-mentation Dr Staneala Beckley, Chair, Teaching Service Commission, said “When targets and goals are set, you look forward to achieving them. Clear indicators will help us to know where we are going in a more definitive way because we would have the indicators, targets and means of verification to help us understand the value of our work and its impact. This meeting is really a point of departure and a critical exercise that will help us to be more efficient.”
In summing up his impressions of the 3-week review of the monitoring and evaluation status of the ministry, Dr. Joachim Pfaffe outlined a few critical steps needed to improve the situation in the short term. He proposed the need to institutionalize Monitoring and Evaluation across all departments of the Ministry; support the process of developing a clear monitoring and evaluation framework that would in turn require the necessary monitoring tools, strategies and timelines; and finally build an internal capacity of personnel ready to support consistent monitoring of departmental programmes. “I am sure that if there is an identified group of staff charged with the responsibility of monitoring and evaluation, they would be willing to participate in capacity building activities and also use the training they receive to improve this area in the sector,” he concluded.