Monitoring and Evaluation in the Education Sector

In January 2010, EDC and UNESCO facilitated a stakeholders’ survey to inform the development of a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework for the Education Sector’s Comprehensive Response to HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean. (This was preceded by a desk review.) This survey was administered to key stakeholders including Ministry of Education (MOE) HIV Focal Points and M&E personnel from the MOE and National HIV and AIDS Response Programme (NHARP) from eight territories: Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis and St. Lucia. M&E Stakeholder Workshop
UNESCO 2010: photo by C. Aldinger, EDC Inc

Upon conclusion of the survey, EDC staff, with direct influence of Ms. Arlene Husbands, presented a comprehensive report to UNESCO in February 2010. The report identified the need to enhance and “strengthen the national capacity for HIV monitoring and evaluation in the education sector at all levels in terms of personnel and resource requirement.” There is the need to have the full complement of human resources to coordinate the programmes to enhance the M&E programme and make it effective. Further, materials and resources are required to equip the personnel undertaking the task of developing and implementing the M&E programme.

The report was instrumental in staging a two-day workshop, April 26–27, 2010, in Kingston, Jamaica, where UNESCO brought together the stakeholders that participated in the M&E survey to review the draft Monitoring and Evaluation framework and outline an accompanying Capacity Building tool for the Caribbean Education Sector’s Response to HIV and AIDS.

The main purpose of that workshop was threefold:

  • To share with stakeholders in Education and the National HIV and AIDS Programme the draft Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework and obtain feedback
  • To reach consensus on a draft M&E Framework for testing, including selection of indicators
  • To outline the components and propose the format of an accompanying capacity building tool to assist countries in implementing the Framework

Participants from 12 countries, including Ministry of Education HIV Focal Points, and M&E officers, discussed the following:

  • Mechanisms and relevant tools to monitor the progress of each sectoral plan and M&E framework to indicate the data to be collected, the responsibilities for data collection and dissemination as well as the critical indicators by which the implementation of the sectoral plan can be evaluated.
  • Capacity building mechanisms that will support the development of education sectoral plans and the monitoring of their implementation

Participants were engaged in group work to advise on suitable indicators in the framework and identify ways to address the gaps in the capacity building process. As one of the participants stated, the “workshop is timely as countries seek to better plan for HIV and AIDS in education.” For instance, the workshop was somehow an eye opener for the M&E officer in the Ministry of Education in Dominica who, prior to the workshop, believed that there was no great need for the Ministry of Education being directly involved in information gathering in regard to HIV and M&E, since all information could be supplied by the Ministry of Health. However, during the workshop, he began to realise the significance of the involvement of the Ministry of Education in the HIV monitoring and evaluation. Even more: the Ministry of Education should be leading from the front since the most concerned age group is within the education system.

Workshop facilitators from EDC (Education Development Center), CHRC (Caribbean Health Research Council), PANCAP (Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS), UNAIDS, and UNESCO skillfully provided the knowledge and strategies for the development of a comprehensive and all-inclusive M&E Framework that took into consideration local and regional experiences that were shared. The Port of Spain and Mexico Declarations were referred to periodically that had been signed by the majority of governments in the region pledging their commitment to developing policies and resources that encourage a comprehensive response to HIV and AIDS.

The development of the M&E framework and capacity building tool is part of a four-phased plan (2009-2012) which will include as next phases the pilot and field testing of the framework and related tools in selected Caribbean countries (January-September 2011), training of a cohort of program managers in the Education sector in the use of the framework and capacity building tool, and reproduction and dissemination of the framework and capacity building tool (January-April 2012, proposed).

Reportedly, workshop participation already had an impact after the delegates returned home. Several participants voiced that they will involve their senior officers in deliberations and decisions in reference to the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, and have set up meetings to do so.

Thomas John Holmes
Executive Chair