SQAD concludes weeklong sensitization on new school monitoring programme

The Standard and Quality Assurance Directorate (SQAD), Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, (MoBSE), on Wednesday 7th December 2011, concluded a week-long sensitization on a new monitoring strategy on school performance. The newly rolled out program known as the Participatory Performance Monitoring (PPM), emphasizes the benefits of community involvement in education and outlines how this approach can help improve the academic performance of Gambian students.

It enables local communities to play an active role in their children’s education by involving them in the monitoring and evaluation of their local school performance. This scheme has been experimented in Ghana and Uganda and has been proven to be very successful in improving the standard of schools in those countries.

There is every reason to believe that it will be successful in The Gambia too. Senior officials of MoBSE have revealed optimism in the new approach to school monitoring. Mr. Baboucarr Bouy, Permanent Secretary, MoBSE, revealed his buoyancy when he said: “It is vital that The Gambia improves exam performance of students attending schools if we are to produce literate, numerate and productive members of the community. Our children are our greatest resource and we all have a part to play in their future. PPM is one of the means by which we can get involved and take responsibility for the performance of our children as they make their way in the world.

The PPM scheme will facilitate communities including charities, NGO’s, business people and local entrepreneurs as well as the parents, teachers, and even the students’ themselves to play a meaningful role in the progressive development of their school.

PPM is the final component of the Monitoring process; SQAD and the regional offices carry out external monitoring. The schools should have a comprehensive internal monitoring system and now the community plays its part in community monitoring through the PPM. Improving the academic performance of students is a key to MoBSE. Research has shown that parental and community involvement in monitoring of schools can contribute to improved student performance.

The sensitization was meant to make communities aware of the performance of their schools and PPM is one way of ensuring that this happens. Through the implementation of PPM, Gambian schools can also encourage communities to take ownership of their schools in order to support them achieve better things. Under the PPM, MoBSE has developed a “Community Score Card.” The score card will collect academic performance date for every school in Lower Basic, Upper Basic and Basic Cycle levels.

Schools which are Government funded and grant-aided will be expected to hold an annual meeting for the community at which this score card will be available and discussed by the community. The score card will reveal academic performance for all the students in all subjects at Grade 3 and 5 will eventually include Grade 8 NAT results. Not only will the community be able to see the results of the school, but will also be able to see how the school compares in performance nationwide.

Mr. Omar Jatta, Director, SQAD, said this scheme will allow all those with an interest in developing the performance of their schools to have a central role in measuring the schools academic results. “By properly appraising schools’ performance each local community and stakeholder will be able to assess the status of the school and help to formulate ways of addressing schools which may require remedial action.”

The score card will be made available to every school and the school is expected to hold a meeting called the School Performance Monitoring Meeting (SPMM). The School Management Committee chairperson and the Chair of the Community Participation Committee will take an active part in encouraging the community to attend as well as chairing the meeting on an annual basis.

For Mrs. Fatou Jobe Cham, Head Teacher, Latirkunda Lower Basic School, observed that the “information on the Community Score Card will enable a debate to take place about how the community can help the school improve its performance or maintain an already good performance.”

She adds that this “might take the form of ensuring students come to school on time and regularly or that children can be enabled to do homework by parents not over-burdening them with domestic chores.” She noted that it might mean that the head teacher has to rethink how a particular subject is taught and by whom. It may mean that the community has to help with resources. “In any event this involvement will mean that the head teacher will have to think about school development and planning and what the priorities for the school are and will have to listen to the community and help set future targets for performance,” she concluded.




Participatory Performance Monitoring

What is the meaning of PPM

Participatory Performance Monitoring (PPM) means the involvement of communities in the monitoring of their schools to improve the academic performances of students.

Why implement PPM in our schools

Improving the academic performances of students is a key priority for the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. Research has shown that parental or community involvement in monitoring of schools can contribute to improved student performance. In fact, Participatory Performance Monitoring (PPM) which means involving communities in monitoring their schools has been found to contribute in improving the performances of students in schools in Uganda and Ghana. Hence it is envisaged that the academic performances of Gambian students could also be improved if PPM is implemented in our schools as well.

It is also important that at any given time communities need to be aware of the performances of their schools and PPM is one way of ensuring that this happens. Implementing PPM in our schools can also encourage communities to take ownership of their schools

What is not PPM - It is not PPM when:

one of the two main elements (data on the community record cards and the SPM Meeting) is absent

it is a witch hunt meant to expose only the weaknesses of the school authorities or staff members

people at the SPM Meeting speak out of turn and do not reach any consensus

some members of the school or community are denied access to the annual SPMM

when the school uses an informal assessment of students’ performance based on anecdotal evidence during the SPM Meeting.

The school authorities feel that some aspects of the community score card should be kept secret

The school authorities and community members do not see eye to eye with regards to students’ performance

The school authorities see it as a way of showing off, and in this way demonstrate a sign of complacency and over confidence.

What is SPPM


School Performance Monitoring Meeting (SPMM) is a component of PPM. It refers to the meeting convened annually at school level for communities and schools to come together and discuss the performances of their children/students. It is during this meeting that the community record card, which captures the performance of students in NATs and GABECE is shown to community members and it forms the basis for the meeting.   The meeting also looks into other issues like the resources available to the school as well as the reasons for a school’s high performance or otherwise. Recommendations are made during the meeting for schools to include in their School Development Plans.


Who are involved?

    The people involved in the SPM Meetings are head teachers, deputy head teachers, SMC  chairs,  Community Participation sub-committee chair and members from the community


What are our expectations?

Sensitize the Community 

Enhance community interest in and support for the  school

Keep and file all work done

To be committed to the task given

Ensure that the community record card is available for SPM Meetings

How can we meet our expectations?

Attend and participate in SPM Meetings

Include recommendations for SPM Meetings in school development plans

Community members are supportive to the school

Ensure that SPMM is held annually.


What is the Community Record Card

 The Community record card is a technical tool designed by planning Unit of MOBSE to report and compare performance of schools for the use of the community. It is designed to show how well the school is doing compared to other schools in the region and in the nation.


The rationale is to increase accountability through a systematic disclosure of comparative information on key school performance. It is designed to inform parent and the wider community about the performance and efficient use of resources at school.

How to read the community score cards

 It is made easier to understand by the use of graphics to make the information easier to understand by parents and the community.
 Exampls of the Community Record Card   Region  DISTRICT  Region NATION
 Region REGION (No)
  Student teacher ratio    
  DISTRICT DISTRICT (NAME)  % of qualified teachers     


  Nb of students       per Maths textbook    
  Nb of students per English textbook    


  NAT G3 English    
  NAT G5 English     
  NAT G5 Maths  
Good.jpg - 1.41 Kb
  Drop-out rate G1-6    
  GABECE Aggregate   
Good.jpg - 1.41 Kb
    GABECE English    
    GABECE Maths  
Fair.jpg - 2.60 Kb
    GABECE Sciences      
    GABECE SES    
    Drop-out rate G7 - 9    
    Resources Index
Resources.jpg - 1.63 Kb
3MB.jpg - 2.39 Kb
5MB.jpg - 3.05 Kb
    Performance Index   
    Efficiency Index    


 There will be further training on the use of the Score card by planning Directorate in the near future. There is a more detailed school report card and a simpler community score card.


Examples From Ghana

At an SPM Meeting in Ghana, a school that was at the 65th position in terms of performance rose up to the 10th position over a period of ten years. The same school won the district’s Best Teacher Award at the Primary Division (level) for the year 1996


During another SPM Meeting, a school that had problems in providing text books for some students from poor backgrounds, benefitted from money raised at the meeting to purchase books. At the same meeting a hardworking teacher who could not have accommodation in the village and was frequently late was offered accommodation free of charge by one of the villagers.

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