Problem the program addresses: The country-wide 2013 School Performance Census of second grade students (ECE 2013), implemented by the Peruvian Ministry of Education, shows a systemic problem of low learning achievements. Students who attend rural multi-grade schools obtain the lowest results. Teacher and student attendance and receipt of education material were identified as some of the key elements that contribute to the improvement of learning, and were considered important goals of the national program (PELA) "Learning Achievements in Basic Education 2013-2016."
Monitoring these key elements, by and on educational institutions, is one of the biggest challenges for the education system in Peru. There is a particular lack of information on schools located in geographically remote or inaccessible areas, which limits the ability to report quality data on a regular basis. It is necessary to establish mechanisms that visualize what actually happens in these kinds of educational institutions in order to acquire the information needed for decision making and improving the educational process.
Description of the solution: In this context, and based on a successful experience by UNICEF Uganda, a pilot project named EduTrac, a mobile-phone based system using rapid SMS technology, has been set up by UNICEF Peru and the Peruvian Ministry of Education to provide a light, quick, and cost-effective data collection method and two-way communication channel for use in the education sector. It is expected that this will make the government's interventions more effective and that it will provide greater accountability to communities.
School administrators and people who interact closely with schools like parent committees, tutors, and local authorities will provide data on a frequent basis, allowing improved timeliness of data collection for decision making and action. Stakeholders that will interact with the system will provide data, get reports on the data provided, and manage the system. Initially, four indicators will be monitored:
- Teacher attendance
- Student attendance
- Timely delivery of education materials
- School infrastructure maintenance
A baseline assessment and evaluation are currently being designed to assess the pilot, which will take place in the remote Peruvian districts of Masisea and Levitaca, in order to test its scalability to other remote areas of the country. The evaluation, which was not part of the EduTrac project in Uganda, is an opportunity to acquire the necessary evidence and learning to scale up to other countries.
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CEI approaches in action
UNICEF Peru's goal is for EduTrac to become integrated into the government's strategy for improving the monitoring of school indicators. The goal is for the Government of Peru to scale up the project following the pilot.
Monitoring & Evaluation
Monitoring: UNICEF Peru and the Ministry of Education will evaluate the EduTrac system's performance, verifying the timeliness, quality, and completness of the information provided, making use of key informants in the field, database verification, and the use of data triangulation to verify and validate the information. UNICEF Peru is currently determining what type of evaluation design is most appropriate for the intervention.
If the project is successful, UNICEF Peru expects that quality information on relevant indicators will be available to decision makers on a frequent basis so that they have the opportunity to make political decisions (in the case of local authorities and the Ministry of Education) or corrective measures (in the case of school principals) or have more capacity for advocacy (in the case of parent committees) in order to increase teacher and student attendance and guarantee timely receipt of educational material. Making the right decisions is not part of the project scope but will eventually improve the learning achievements of the students.