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Evaluation of SCA support to Model Schools, Afghanistan

Terms of reference

Introduction:

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) is an international NGO working in Afghanistan for almost 30 years, primarily in the fields of education, health, disability and rural development. SCA’s activities are carried out in 17 Provinces in the eastern and northern parts of the country. In the field of education, SCA works with the Government at the Central, Provincial, District and at local levels to achieve the following strategic objectives:

1. Increased access to education, especially to females.
2. Improvement of quality of education
3. Capacity building of the relevant stakeholders including teachers, heads, the communities and Government officials.

Community Based Schools (CBS), Girls Annexes (GA) and Model Schools (MS) are major activities through which SCA provides access to education to marginalized groups of society especially in the remote rural areas. In order to provide and improve quality education, SCA utilizes the facilities and resources of the MS, whereas capacity building of teachers, teacher educators, Government officials and civil society groups is achieved through multi-level and wide ranging programmes initiated and assisted by SCA sponsored and managed MS.

Model Schools:

In 2006, Government Schools at the secondary level were upgraded into Model Schools with the active support of SCA which provides resources, training and ongoing supervision and monitoring. This is done with a view to improve the quality of education provided, as well as to develop the schools as a hub of learning. The upgraded schools provide a platform to the other schools in the vicinity to utilize MS resources and to obtain guidance from the trained MS teachers. All Model schools possess appropriate physical facilities; proper infra-structure and academic facilities like science and computer labs; libraries; appropriately qualified and trained teachers; adequate teaching resources as per local standards; ongoing training process of the teachers; and proper and trained school management committees who supervise and support schools on an ongoing basis.

The facilities which MS provide are wanting in the other schools in the area especially after the fall of radical elements. During 2002-2005, SCA was working on two projects: the Secondary School Project and Basic Education Project. In view of the acute shortage of teachers and resources in a large number of Government schools, SCA conceptualized the idea to develop some secondary schools at the District level which could serve as hubs of learning, and would have resources physical and intellectual, to provide support to neighboring schools. Such schools came to be categorized as Model schools.

As compared to 42 MS in 2006, there are now 54 MS in six project areas of SCA. These are considered as role models in each of their areas. Such schools help build the capacity of teachers, trainers, Government functionaries and civil society. The neighboring schools utilize their resources; obtain critical academic support in terms of training of teachers, use of resources, etc.

Need for Evaluation

In recent years, the Ministry of Education started and extended a series of quality improvement initiatives including the Education Quality Improvement Programme (EQUIP), through which the needs of schools for infrastructure, teaching & learning equipment and materials are being addressed to a large extent. MoE also started establishing and supporting Teachers’ Development Centres and Teacher Training Colleges at District and Provincial level, which are expected to address the teachers’ training needs. These initiatives have been aimed to contribute to the same objectives as MS like provision of resources to the neighboring schools and providing training to heads, teachers and other stakeholders connected with the Governance and management of the MS. However, the Government does not have much to offer in the matter of training, for example to the CBS and GA teachers. This is where the role of MS becomes predominant in mentoring CBS and GA through providing academic support to teachers, making available teaching resources, etc. Further, some expected features of MS are as follows:

• MS are governed and supervised by trained Community Education Committees.
• A mechanism of community involvement is in place.
• School is used as a resource centre in the District by other schools including CBS and Girls Annexes.
• The rich experience of the MS is disseminated to other schools in the vicinity.
• Teachers receive ongoing support to upgrade and update their professional skills and knowledge.

In order to review the performance of the Model Schools and to determine its impact on other schools in the area, SCA has decided to evaluate the Model schools. For this purpose, SCA is looking for a qualified candidate with knowledge, skills and experience who can carry out the evaluation study about Model schools in the light of the following objectives. The study would give us insight about future directions of MS.

Objectives of the evaluation

1. To review the Model Schools in the light of original concepts and to see how effective they are, in particular,
a. to ascertain to what extent the MS are meeting the upgrading standards
b. to review the progress made by MS towards meeting the modeling standards, and
2. Determine if there is an ongoing need for MS in the light of Government’s new initiatives.
3. To explore the possibilities of increasing both government ownership and responsibilities by developing the MS as Resource Centres at the District level or through other means.
4. To explore alternative roles (if any) for the model schools in the present context of education at District level

Duration and timelines for the evaluation exercise:

The Evaluator will be provided clear 20 working days plus traveling time for the assignment from April 2012 to August 2012. The field work will take place during the month of June. The tentative breakup of which will be roughly as follows but which will be firmed up with the Evaluator:

• 4 days for reviewing the Government and SCA records including reports about Model Schools and other Government initiatives; and developing tools for the evaluation. SCA will provide all the required documents and the Evaluator may also identify from the net, on his own, additional material that he or she may require.
• 10 days in the field including at the SCA offices for interviewing schools management, teachers, Government officials and for studying school data and to observe classes. A detailed action plan will be finalized within one week of the Evaluator being engaged, in consultation with the Evaluator
• 5 days for report writing.
• 1 day for incorporating management comments.

SCA management will provide feedback to the Evaluator within ten days of the submission of the draft report. The evaluator will then submit a final report to SCA within seven days of receiving this feedback.

The evaluation process: (suggested methodology)

• Spending time in the schools and District offices interviewing relevant people in the field.
• Studying the relevant school data.
• Observing teaching and students learning.
• Collecting samples of students course work carried out in school
• Interview: SCA Head of Programmes, Heads of Units, Senior Education Advisor, Project Managers and Government officials.
• Focus group discussions.

Co-ordination:

The MS Evaluator will work in very close coordination with the Senior Education Advisor under the overall guidance and leadership of the Head of Education Programmes as well as the SCA Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit and Programme Implementation Department.

Expected outputs of the evaluation:

• Draft evaluation report: a high quality narrative and analytical report, containing all appropriate facts, findings and relevant figures, and giving innovative and practical recommendations which, if implemented, would raise the quality of education.
• Final evaluation report responding to, or incorporating feedback from SCA management.

SCA Inputs

• Provision of all key internal document related to MS and the initiatives of the Government (the Evaluator will also be expected to research relevant documents from the net);
• Provision of all board and lodging and transport during the Evaluator’s stay in Afghanistan;
• Payment of all expenses related to international travel to and from Afghanistan, including assistance with obtaining the relevant visa;
• Travel and health insurance on SCA’s corporate policy for international travel and the Evaluator’s stay in Afghanistan;

Required profile of the Evaluator

• Minimum Master’s degree in the field of education, research or social sciences.
• Minimum of three years’ experience in conducting evaluations in different aspects of the education field (School evaluations, School initiatives evaluations, teacher training evaluations, etc.).
• Experience of working in institutional capacity development of the education sector in a developing and / or conflict-affected country.
• Practiced in the use of participatory methods for conducting research, planning and capacity development;
• Highly proficient in written and spoken English; knowledge of Dari and /or Pashto an asset;
• Background knowledge of the historical and political situation in Afghanistan;
• Strong communication skills, with the ability to communicate detailed concepts clearly and concisely both in writing and verbally;

How to apply

Interested candidates should send an offer to SCA containing the following:

• Full CV, including a list of studies and evaluations carried out;
• A cover letter indicating the Evaluator’s background and relevant experience;
• A proposed work plan giving indicative dates for carrying out the evaluation;
• A short description of the proposed methodology;

Application should be submitted to evaluations@sca.org.af to arrive by 16.00 Afghan time, 15 April 2012. Please put the words Model Schools in the subject line

For further information please contact rafat.nabi@sca.org.af

Organisation Swedish Committee for Afghanistan

Country Afghanistan