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LESSONS:

Education Sector Project II: Project Completion Report

sector: Education | country: Samoa

Flexibility. Greater flexibility in design and adherence to targets might have enabled more discussion and better communication and decision making within an ambitious time frame, especially during the first year. The design and monitoring framework (DMF) could have been revised early on, reducing the pressure on the Ministry of Education, Sport, and Culture (MESC) and alleviating the sense that they were not achieving results.

Capacity. Although capacity has been developed (though not always retained) at an individual level, the benefits are less evident within MESC or more broadly. Capacity development could have been greater had MESC capacity been thoroughly assessed during design or had design fully considered the absorptive capacity of a small ministry. High staff turnover at the management level also contributed to challenges in building capacity.

Curriculum development. The new curriculum provides a starting point for confident, capable teachers but is reportedly challenging for weak teachers. Developing the curriculum in the language the teachers use to plan and deliver their lessons (Samoan) would have lessened the risk of creating new vocabulary and provided a better base for weak teachers.

Evidence base. The loss of much of the evaluative work and studies done under the Education Sector Project II (ESPII) when key staff departed leaving no document archive and the inability to provide quality data for the project completion report highlight the importance of institutionalizing a strong system for monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

Future Education Sector Program. The Education Sector Plan is ambitious. Human capacity can easily be overloaded by attempting too many simultaneous reforms. Having fewer, but well-sequenced and phased priorities, is likely to have more impact.

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