Executive summary rebuilding aceh through education for all


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Executive summary rebuilding aceh through education for all

  1. 1. REBUILDING ACEH through EDUCATION FOR ALL End-term Evaluation Report of Post-Tsunami Reconstruction Program in Aceh Province, Indonesia carried out by Education International co-financed by OXFAM International and OXFAM-NOVIB Evaluation Team: AHMAD MAHMUDI ROEM TOPATIMASANG JOENI HARTANTO (YPRI-INSIST, Yogyakarta, Indonesia) The Hague, July 2009
  2. 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY As part of the OXFAM International Tsunami Response Programme, Oxfam Novib was the managing affiliate for a project named 'Rebuilding Aceh through Education for All' in Aceh Province, Indonesia. The project has been implemented –in two consecutive phases (2005-2007 and 2008-2009) - by Education International (EI) based in Brussels, Belgium, through its Regional Office for Asia-Pacific based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and its Field Coordination Office based in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The project comprises of six components that were designed as part of a comprehensive and integrated intervention approach with the aim to restore the local education system. The components are: reconstruction of destroyed school buildings; training for school teachers and headmasters; training for local school committees; training for local members of teachers union; provision of scholarships for local students; and an health education awareness campaign and trauma counselling services. In June 2009, YPRI (Yayasan Pendidikan Rakyat Indonesia – Indonesian Foundation for Popular Education) based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, was invited to carry out an evaluation of the project. The evaluation is aimed principally for learning and accountability. The focus of the evaluation is to assess mainly the outcomes (results and impacts), cost efficiency, effectiveness, and the prospect of sustainability of the program; to draw out some important lessons learned; and to recommend some possible follow-up actions. OVERALL FINDINGS (1) Quantitatively, the main targets of the program have been impressively achieved. The infrastructure reconstruction component has successfully built 35 school compounds in seven districts affected by earthquake and tsunami in December 2004. Today, these schools are enrolling a total of 3,570 1 local schoolchildren, while a total of 3,655 primary school's students –, including students of other schools not built by the program - have received a monthly scholarship fees totalling IDR 1,200,000 (about € 86.0) per student per year. The training for local school teachers and headmasters have benefited 1,388 participants, almost three times more than initially planned 2 . The training for local school committees have reached 131 participants; training for local members of teachers unions (PGRI) have reached 260 participants; and training for local teachers in trauma counselling and health awareness campaign have reached totally 389 beneficiaries. 3 1 Just less 45 from the target in proposal 2 582 participants only 3 Exceeded the target (210 participants) as explained later through email, 30 June 2009, by EI Coordinator. If it is added with the total of 511 participants of trainings funded by JTU, the total amount becomes 940 Oxfam Novib-EI, Rebuilding Aceh through Education for All, End-term Evaluation Report 1
  3. 3. (2) The gender proportion among the direct beneficiaries is relatively balanced. Although the number of female beneficiaries is fewer, the gap is relatively small, with the difference averaging 10% in total. The number of female beneficiaries of training for local school principals and teachers in trauma counselling is larger with more than 60% and 70% respective beneficiaries. In contrast, an extreme gender imbalance has been found among the local members of school committees and, especially, the PGRI. This is contradictory to the fact that the majority (more than 60%) of school teachers in Aceh –and Indonesia as a whole- are women. This is mainly because of PGRI is still a male-dominated organisation. It seems there could have been an opportunity within the program to insist an 'affirmative action' on PGRI to seriously take this mater into account. As one of its founding members, EI may actually be able to employ such a policy to PGRI. (3) There were several delays experienced in all of the program's components, which in turn resulted in the program being carried over until the end of June 2009, six months over the planned date (the end of December 2008) in the contract (initial proposal); it even exceeded the limitation of project time which was supposed to complete in the end of May 2009. 4 . Within the uncertain context of post-tsunami Aceh, especially in the first two years after the disaster where local infrastructures and institutions had not fully recovered, the delay is understandable. All of organisations working in Aceh at that time have a similar experience. Despite the delay, the program was able to achieve a certain level of cost efficiency, particularly in school reconstruction, by saving a relatively large amount of money up to IDR 9.3 billion (about € 666,100) without diminishing its construction standard and quality. Some of other components are relatively less efficient but the most serious underspent was in the components of the training for teachers in health education and trauma counselling which is retaining almost half (48.8%), the training for local school teachers which is retaining almost quarter (21.1%), and the scholarships which is retaining almost one-fifth (16.2%) of their respective allocated budget. (4) Concerning on the impacts on the direct beneficiaries, the effectiveness of the program is satisfactory. All of the beneficiaries noted that the program has brought some positive influences for them. In fact, all of local schoolchildren have enrolled in all of those schools built by the project. All of the local teachers and headmasters are now active in their respective roles and duties. They said that they are highly motivated with their new and beautiful school buildings and especially, with the trainings of EI which have been very helpful and useful to improve their professional competencies according to the basic requirements of the new school curricula of 2004. The teachers are now implementing various creative methods of teaching and student-centred methods of learning. The headmasters are now starting to apply standard operation procedures in their daily management of their own school, including basic practices of transparency and accountability. In the school's financial affairs for instance, school's regular (monthly) financial reports are clearly recorded on the walls to be read and inspected by parents and the surrounding community. (5) Particular attention should be paid to two components of the program, i.e. the provision of scholarships and the trauma counselling training. It is still difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of these components in the long term. As related to the objective to get local schoolchildren 'back to school', the scholarships have proven to work with only minor cases of misuse in the early months after its initiation participants, four times higher than target. 4 There are two different versions on the extention period of the project. Clarification from Oxfam Novib stated May 2009 (Joop Perboom’s email, 9 July 2009); meanwhile additional explanation from EI Coordinator in Aceh stated June 2009 (Jerome Fernandez’ email, 30 June 2009) Oxfam Novib-EI, Rebuilding Aceh through Education for All, End-term Evaluation Report 2
  4. 4. in 2006. The EI Office in Aceh have been able to learn from these mistakes and gradually developed an appropriate scheme through direct bank transfers to the personal accounts of the respective students. However, a more in-depth assessment may be needed to study a better scheme in the future since the economic conditions of the parents may not have fully recovered in the next few years. The program has not planned any concrete actions for this purpose, especially to draw out some possibilities to develop successive scholarships scheme based on potential local resources. (6) Similar findings are with the component of trauma counselling. The training of EI has successfully prepared local teachers and some parents, as 'barefoot counsellors', to provide very elementary counselling services for their students and children. Since the trauma of a huge disaster like the tsunami of 2004 will remaining in long term, a more comprehensive healing or treatment by professionals is needed. The program established a Children’s Center in one of EI-schools in Banda Aceh involving some professional counsellors. Unfortunately, the Center only implemented one activity during a week to serve students of EI schools in Banda Aceh. In fact, as planned in the proposal, the most needed is the establishment of a permanent Centre in one of EI-Schools in Banda Aceh (SD 95 Gampong Baro). Up to the evaluation was performed (July 2009), the plan had not been realized. (7) Above all, the greatest concern is how to guarantee the continuity or sustainability of the program. Some of the reconstructed schools, particularly those in rural areas, are very poorly maintained and very dirty; with one school being found to be heavily damaged and partly abandoned. Attention to maintenance, safety, and cleanliness has not been found to be commonplace among the schools in urban areas. Improvements could have been made in efforts to activate the functioning of the local school committees. In fact, local government budget allocated for operational costs for school maintenance is still very limited. The amount each school receives is calculated according to the number of students in the school. The schools in rural areas have smaller number of students and will, consequently, suffer a serious lack of operational budget for the maintenance of their big compounds and facilities. The evaluators feel the program has not carefully considered this issue from its initiation and has not logically made a clear differential design between the schools for rural and urban areas. (8) To certain extent, the program has influenced some significant changes in the internal structure of local PGRI, especially in four districts, i.e. Aceh Tenggara, Aceh Selatan, Langsa, and Aceh Besar. All of positions of the board's members of those PGRI are now fully occupied by the local teachers themselves. No more bureaucrats or politicians who are not teachers or have no background as teachers, as was the case before. The changes, in turn, have significantly influenced some policies of local government in education sector, especially in the Aceh Besar District. The officials of the District Office of Education and the Bupati of Aceh Besar himself have confessed that the program’s comprehensive approach has motivated them to change and reform some policies of the system of recruitment, placing, distributing, enforcing discipline, improving professional competencies and welfare of local teachers. Thanks to the conference on 'Improving the Quality of Education in Aceh' organized by EI they have been provided them with some ideas to initiate a draft for a new district regulation to put an additional budget allocation for operational costs of schools in rural areas where there are fewer students. GENERAL CONCLUSIONS Generally, this evaluation concludes that the program has achieved almost all of its objectives in a Oxfam Novib-EI, Rebuilding Aceh through Education for All, End-term Evaluation Report 3
  5. 5. relatively efficient, effective manner relevant to the present local demands. Although its volume and scale is relatively small compared to the real needs for the recovery of local education system in Aceh as a whole, the results and impacts of program have contributed to the ideas of 'education for all' as part of global efforts of MDGs at the micro level of local schools and formal education system. The impressive achievements of this program were made possible in the first place by support from an extensive network of labour movements of which EI is part. The helpful assistance from ILO and PGRI, especially in the most crucial time of preparatory phase and the initial planning stage of implementation, have enabled EI to find trusted and capable local partners, particularly in school reconstruction which is the most complicated and largest component of the program. In the final stance, the most determinant factor is the capability of EI Office in Aceh itself to make many necessary adjustments according to the real situation in the field. To some extent, the strong commitment, long experiences, adequate knowledge on local environment and community, good communication skills, tough leadership style, and personal background as a teacher and unionist of the project manager himself, the Coordinator of EI in Aceh, have also contributed to those achievements. The comprehensive approach of the program has made its local stakeholders could understand better the whole ideas and objectives which is, in turn, very helpful to involve their active participation and appreciation. Unfortunately, in its implementation, that comprehensive conceptualization of project's design has not been supported with a strong database and information system which made it difficult to further analyse some specific aspects of the program. The project design did not carefully consider a lot of differences between rural and urban areas which is crucial to the questions on the sustainability of the program in the long term. GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS Since the main guarantee of the sustainability of the program primarily depends on the local government capacities and policies, the most important recommendation is to take some strategic interventions to effectively influence local policies, especially on the allocation of public expenditures for the maintenance of school's infrastructures and facilities; for the improvement of school's management, professional competencies and welfare of school's teachers; and for the more active involvement of local communities, especially within the school committees. As a union in education sector, PGRI should take a determinant role to influence local government policies. In fact, this organisation has not been fully transformed from its past misconduct as a patriarchal 'pseudo union' dominated by vested interests of bureaucrats and politicians. Internal reform and strengthening of the PGRI, as well as local school committees, need to be continued in a more systematic and programmatic approach to make them an integrated part of civil society movement to enable more effective influencing of local government policies in education sector. Besides the recommendation for long-term strategic interventions, there are some practical follow up actions which can be immediately applied. These are: [a] continuing cooperation with some professional agencies –such as local office of LPMP- to provide regular monitoring, technical assistance, and further capacity building of local school teachers and headmasters; [b] realizing the plan to establish a Children Center in one of EI's school in Banda Aceh and, if possible, expanding the idea for two more Centers in two districts outside Banda Aceh City, i.e. Aceh Besar and Aceh Jaya; [c] continuing to assist all of EI's schools to develop their own inter-school network for exchanging experiences and best practices in Oxfam Novib-EI, Rebuilding Aceh through Education for All, End-term Evaluation Report 4
  6. 6. improving the quality of their educational processes and school management to enable mutual support for solving their problems given the lack of operational funds; and for mobilizing potential local resources to develop an alternative scheme of cross-scholarships for their students; and [d] rebuild and relocate two of badly damaged and poorly located schools (SD Umong Siribee and SD Glee Breuk) using the present remaining project's fund. There have been some interesting and unique lessons learned on how to implement humanitarian work in a post-disaster context, particularly in the reconstruction of education sector in a comprehensive approach. The evaluators feel it is important to compile them into a book and publish it for the benefits of concerned individuals and organizations. Based on those valuable lessons, post-disaster strategic intervention in education sector in Aceh in the future needs to be more developed and enlarged, not only in infrastructure and in improvement of micro-pedagogy and micro-management of formal schooling system but also in term to be more integrated with the need to develop a local community welfare and resiliency system in facing several hazards potentials. Oxfam Novib-EI, Rebuilding Aceh through Education for All, End-term Evaluation Report 5