IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: RDRS Bangladesh
GRANT AMOUNT: $80,000
The Government of Bangladesh has undertaken a number of targeted interventions, as part of its National Education Policy (2010), to ensure one-hundred percent enrollment and completion of primary education before 2015. The Reaching out of School Children Project (ROSC-II), launched in 2004, is one such intervention that has played a key role in providing second chance primary education to out of school children in targeted rural upazilas (sub-districts). The placement of new learning centers were based on demand from local people and run by local center management committees (CMC). This left a considerable onus on the committees to place pupils and manage the learning center whilst leaving ample room for mismanagement and corruption.
The CARTA sub-project provided independent Third Party Monitoring (TPM) to assess the delivery and quality of education services, including issues such as, inclusion, transparency, accountability, effectiveness and efficiency of ROSC-II project implementation. The project also sensitized the community and institutional actors about the responsibilities of teachers, project personnel, and local and national government officials.
The objectives of sub-project were twofold:
- Verify eligibility and selection processes for the establishment of learning centers, staffing, and pupil enrollment
- Strengthen the capacity of Center Management Committees (CMC) and parents to supervise and assess performance of the learning centers
There were several improvements in the operation of the ROSC-II project that can be attributed to sub-project activities around information dissemination. For example:
Committee members became more active in demanding accountability from service provider. Service providers now know they will be held accountable to their decisions during community meetings.
The degree of citizen engagement in ROSC-II has increased and community management committees (CMCs) are playing a more effective role. As a result, considerable changes have been realized in the public display of community development plans, improved environmental conditions, and better care and maintenance of facilities by community members.
A major achievement of this sub-project was the shift from keeping information restricted to disseminating it widely. Detailed information about ROSC-II is now well known by local communities. Likewise, there is much greater transparency in the criteria for children selected to participate in the program.
Most of the CMCs are now carrying-out project activities as per their roles and responsibilities. They organize public meetings regularly and make decisions in an inclusive, participatory way.
An survey conducted towards the end of the project unveiled the following results:
- The level of satisfaction with learning center operations was considerably higher with CARTA (80%) as compared to without (50%)
- There is a significant difference in Center Management Committee (CMC) accountability mechanisms in CARTA and non-CARTA areas
- One-third of parents in surveyed in CARTA areas, versus one-fourth non-CARTA areas, were aware the criteria for admission of children to learning centers
- The rate of satisfaction with children selection was found to be considerably higher in non-CARTA areas
Implementing the sub-project provided a number of lessons learned to inform future programs, including:
- A social interface may reduce the distance between service provider and receiver
- Participatory training/orientation creates a friendly environment for the implementation of project activities and increases community knowledge and capacity to benefit from them
- Third-party monitoring can be a useful approach to verify the results of public projects and assess levels of transparency, accountability, inclusion, participation, and effectiveness