Presentation on theme: "Driven by Donors ; National Ownership – a Rhetoric Only Primary Education Development in Bangladesh; Sub-sector Wide Approach (SWAP)"— Presentation transcript:
Driven by Donors ; National Ownership – a Rhetoric Only Primary Education Development in Bangladesh; Sub-sector Wide Approach (SWAP)
Officially, PEDP-II aims at bringing about an effective, systemic change in primary education management towards improving the quality of primary education, increasing access, completion rate, and participation. It has been claimed that the programme is designed in line with MDGs, Dakar Framework for Action on Education, National Plan of Action (NPA) on Education and the PRSP. What are the policy intentions - behind PEDP-II formulation - Incorporating lessons learned from the PEDP-I as well as other sector wide programmes in Bangladesh and the region. Instigate Government Leadership - development projects in formal primary education sector, prior to undertaking PEDP, had always fell short of effectively addressing the need for government leadership, resulting in policy fragmentation, replicated approaches, distorted spending priorities and inadequately addressed institutional development and sustainability issues.
Reforms in the entire management of primary education through organizational development and capacity building of education managers and teachers, updating the existing curricula, keeping provision of adequate supplementary learning materials, introducing and exercising modern and scientific teaching- learning methods and techniques and adequate infrastructural support are documented as the prime focuses of PEDP-II for bringing about an effective change to improve the quality of primary education and increase equitable access, completion and participation in primary education. Reform plan includes implementation of a minimum standard of educational services through Primary School Quality Levels (PSQL) that would focus on access to educational services and the quality of school environment provided; designating and forming a Primary Education Cadre to provide an appropriate career and promotion structure for permanently recruited officials, including primary school teachers; building organizational capacity and systemic change that is consistent with a policy of increased devolution of authority and responsibility to local level.
According to the PEDP II official documents, direct beneficiaries of PEDP II are as follows: about 18.5 million children (of which 53 poor) in the formal and non-formal primary education sub-sector in 64 districts comprising of 481 Upazillas – in about 65,000 primary schools. By the end of the PEDP II, enrolment of poor children is expected to increase by 2.7 million – 3.2 million poor students, 67-76% (compare with 55% in FY 2001/02) of total PEDP II expenditure is expected to have been targeted to the poor. About 35,000 newly recruited and another 40,000 serving teaches trained by about 650 upgraded adequately prepared teacher educators; at least 80% of primary education administrative personnel, who will benefit from management training; all 320,000 existing trained teachers who will receive further in- service training through several stages during the PEDP II period. The school management committees i.e., the wider school community through systematic training and support.
Harmonization of aid and donors is in the minds of Development partners before embarking on PEDP-II, but the real scenario is quite bleak. Multiple bank accounts are used for the PEDP-II, two imprest accounts, a special dollar account, a common pool account in the local currency UNICEF has its own account as does the Government, a separate current account exists with customs, and finally there are the different field level accounts. Varied reporting requirements are attached to the accounts and the different streams of finance; three sets of procurement guidelines are in use. The Paris Declaration has not reach its conclusion, unfolded to the lower level or front liners of the sectors and has really only been addressed at a high level in the government. Parallel financing in PEDP-II, of course, is continuing in spite of the Paris Declaration.
lack of linkages between financial monitoring of PEDP-II and existing public expenditure review process (PER) of Bangladesh government exists although according to PEDP Plan an Annual audit of the consolidated financial statements by the Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh under a common audit process is intended. Observations made by most of the funding agency are that MDB (Multilateral Development Bank) in theory and practice are not always fully consistent with SAWP principles. Although MDBs (including ADB and WB) can presently participate in SWAps, like in PEDP in Bangladesh they participated, they cannot currently use two of their (SWAPs) increasingly attractive features. First, they do not partake in pooled funding, since MDBs policy requires that its loan proceeds be placed in a special, separate account and that the Borrower track the sources and uses of all Bank project funds. Second, the Banks financial management, disbursement, and procurement procedures need to be followed in all Bank operations. So, MDB financed TA frequently appears to marginalize other funding agencies: 'harmonization of processes' often means that other funding agencies have to follow MDB procedures rather than negotiated country-specific solutions. Others observe that few SWAPs/ SIPs appear to include scope for performance-led budget trenching due to uncertainties over appropriate bank lending modalities. MDB led SAWP or SIPs (like ADB led PEDP-II) tend to view capacity building in terms of adequate arrangements for project management rather than taking a broader view.
Since PEDI II failed to involve all potential stakeholders in its planning and operations, it could not satisfy the necessary condition of mediation of different interests. Also, a lack of understanding of the objectives of the reform and of the SWAP has been reported in Bangladesh as leading to a lack of perception of benefits by staff (Foster 2000). One recently conducted Grassroots Review reveals the fact that the objectives of PEDP-II, as ensuring access to quality education, decentralizing authority and making education delivery effective for all children in Bangladesh, have not been apprehended by the spearheads of education system of Bangladesh themselves, including teachers and local education administrators. Awareness level of stakeholders on PEDP-II remains poor as most of the teachers and School Management Committee (SMC) members lacked any concrete idea on PEDP-II. To many (stakeholders) this is yet another 'development activity and constructing buildings and creation of new posts only.  Foster, Brown and Conway 2000: Sector-Wide Approaches for Health Development. A Review of Experience. WHO, June 2000.
Another example of sidelining the possibility of gradually transferring the ownership to national processes An External Monitoring Unit is proposed for PEDP II implementation and frustratingly the relationship between this external unit and DPEs Monitoring and Evaluation Unit is not clearly outlined in PEDP Plan documents. Moreover, existing capacity of Government in monitoring a system is sidelined/bypassed by the external consultants engaged in PEDP during its formulation stage. Compulsory Primary Education Implementation Monitoring Unit (CPEIMU) of Bangladesh Government can easily be entrusted to monitor externally the DPEs performance. (existing government structures rather than inventing parallel structures like external monitoring units)
Transparency/Accountability accessing information on PEDP II Alignment PEDP II is outlined without having a national vision of education ingrained Three types of funding, three sets of procurement guidelines are in use. Multiple bank accounts are used for the PEDP II, two imprest accounts, a special dollar account, a common pool account in the local currency, UNICEF has its own account as does the Government, a separate current account exists with customs, and finally there are the different field level accounts. Varied reporting requirements are attached to the accounts and the different streams of finance. And dependency on international consultancies
Dependency on International Consultancy Vs Indigenized Solutions About 65% of the financial support to implement PEDP-II is provided by GoB, yet about lakh BDT are meant to be spent on consultants of which three fourth on foreign consultants, although Bangladesh has expertise! Mark Sundberg (of the World Bank) 500 days of technical assistance costs the same as employing 5,000 teachers often (in donors led SWAP or large programs). Technical assistance is heavily criticized today by many people in the aid system for being over-priced, ineffective development approaches and undermining ownership of the aid recipient countries. Because most technical assistances are still donors driven and concentrated on expatriate consultants with high rates of pay, when similar services are available locally with much less cost. (European Community Aid to Bangladesh Background Country Study Paper, January 2007
The view of many bilateral donors is that the PLU (Project Liaison Unit established in ADB Resident Mission in Bangladesh) does not yet operate the way it should, due partly to a lack of qualified staff and partly to the fact that the ADB has the tendency to act on their own but in the name of doing on behalf of the Government. According to a Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008, Education for All by 2015: will we make it? in 2007 The projectisation of PEDPII has been attributed to the ADB, the lead development partner, which was the governments preferred lead, not the World Bank, perhaps because the ADB was more project-minded. It was suggested that this may have been because of the individual benefits that could be derived from separate aid contracts in the project mode. This report goes further and state that Finally, ………………the new aid modalities have not yet led to a lowering of transaction costs (perhaps not surprisingly, given the multiplicity of funding routes accommodated just in PEDPII, without even considering the parallel projects).
Alarming Macro Outcome Inter-sectoral analysis missing Emphasis on Hardware Again Low level of GDP (2.17 – 2.8% ) Target Community agreed, community validated and community relevant planning and management of education system is absent Absence of professional, participatory and indigenized dialogues on education quality The donor community continue to debate over the issues of quality education outcome among themselves. Within management principles set by PEDP II, ADBs Anti- Corruption Unit will deal with audit findings or allegation of corruption. Hope Bangladesh government will deal their own evils in future, will not relegate the responsibility to donors/creditors. Civil society in Bangladesh may take an active role in this regard, tracking PEDP II through the lens of aid accountability at least using the benchmark set by the Paris Declaration.
According to a Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008, Education for All by 2015: will we make it? in 2007, The Paris Declaration has not reached down to the primary education sector in Bangladesh and has really only been addressed at a high level in the government. No monitoring of donors is carried out, nor is there any government-led management or coordination of capacity development, This is in spite of the considerable needs in the two ministries of education and the prevalence of many programs to strengthen the directorates. Although the government is critical of consultants, it has not taken the lead in this area, nor generally, in donor coordination. The $1 billion required to meet EFA in Bangladesh is what the country spends to service its external debts.