JOINT DONOR REVIEW AND SUPERVISION (JDRS)
(Semi – Annual Mission) and World Bank/IDA Implementation Support Mission
held from June 6th – 16th, 2011 in The Gambia
The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has been benefiting from joint efforts of its development partners through joint donor review and supervision mission of the education policy and program. The joint mission is held every six months (June/December), i.e. semi-annually with the participation of high level decision makers and experts in education management from bilateral, multilateral, international NGOs, local NGOs, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Conferences (senior secondary school, upper basic school and lower basic school), among other government institutions, such as the Ministry of Finance & Economic Affairs, Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Water Resources, Policy Analysis Unit - Office of the President, and as well as the civil society (the media, national assembly members, advocacy groups) participated fully. The Forum was attended by over 90 participants.
Development Partners concluded with satisfactory note, and encouraging remarks. The joint mission enabled donors to work more closely to prevent duplication and competition of efforts, facilitate focus on respective partner strengths, harmonize procedures, reduce transaction cost, and to provide greater potential linkages between policy and investment initiatives. Government and Development Partners always work on a coordinated approach linking all development aid (loans, credits, grants and technical assistances) to the sector’s needs and offers significant promise and advice for improving the development outcomes.
The mission objectives were as follows:
(i) Examine progress towards the execution of the activities under the Education Sector Strategic Plan and the attainment of the program objectives; (ii) review the activities under the Third Education Sector Project (including Additional Financing under the same project) and the EFA-FTI Catalytic Fund taking into consideration the results from the recently concluded Mid-Term Review; (iii) review progress of the pilot community-based Early Childhood Development Project supported under a Japanese Social Development Fund grant; (iv) discuss the planning and implementation of the national language pilot financed under EPDF and (v) review progress and challenges of bilateral interventions from UNICEF; Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA); EFA Campaign Network; Action Aid The Gambia; Childfund; Future In Our Hands (FIOH); United States Peace Corps; UNESCO-NATCOM; World Food Programme (WFP); and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) The Gambia.
The deliberations resulted in a number of recommendations related to the following, and the aide memoire which summarizes the main
findings provided technical advice on the issue observed:
1. Financing of the Sector (government budget; private financing through the households; report cards for increased accountability)
2. Sector Performance (Policy Revision for Basic and Secondary Education – 2012-2015)
3. Access, Quality of teaching and learning; sector management
4. Reasons for decline in enrolment: action research – investigation at the regional directorate level
5. Madrassa Education
6. Teacher Issues (Teacher training and PTC extension; teacher absenteeism’s; assessment of teachers and participation in the proposed in-service training program; regional differences; number of teachers and test results at final streaming in English; number of teachers and test results at final streaming)
7. Outcome of two studies financed by UNICEF
8. Barriers to Education Study
9. Public Expenditure Tracking Survey
10. Introduction of new strategies to boost student learning (the pilot “Early Reading in Local Language”, National Assessment; Early Grade Reading Assessment)
11. Early Childhood Development
12. School Environment, management, and feeding program
13. National School Infrastructure – Inventory
14. School Management and Standards
15. Monitoring and Evaluation
16. School Feeding
17. Post Basic Education (University of The Gambia, Higher Education Support under the IDA project, Tracer study of TVET and Higher Education Graduates)
18. A matrix (this will enable the sector and partners to give special attention to critical/urgent issues highlighted in the aide memoire)
The next joint mission is scheduled for Mid December 2011. The Sector has an open door policy and is ready to partner with any potential development aid agency for greater policy dialogue and programme interventions.