Capacity Development for Education for All
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Introduction and background
In many countries, centrally designed education planning and delivery systems are based on ‘ideal world’ scenarios rather than ‘real world’ delivery capacities. As a result, the best formulated education plans and policies can often fall short of their targets. UNESCO’s 2-year $15 million Capacity Development for Education for All (CapEFA) Programme – financed by the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland,Switzerland and Italy - recognizes that technical inputs to sector-wide and sub-sector education planning cannot ignore the operational implications.
Upstream advisory support goes hand-in-hand with targeted capacity strengthening strategies - with a focus on reinforcing the institutional processes, organizational structures and professional skills and competencies needed to carry out the core Education for All (EFA) tasks that will lead to agreed quality and equity targets.
Since 2002, the CapEFA programme has enabled UNESCO to work with Member States in translating global advocacy on EFA into concrete action. An explicit emphasis on, and approach to, capacity development has evolved over the years in alignment with development practice and in consultation with international partners such as the UNDP and the EFA Fast-Track Initiative. The thematic focus has also gradually narrowed to specific areas where UNESCO itself can add value to Member States own EFA efforts – namely sector-wide policy and planning, literacy, teacher education policies, technical/vocational and secondary education.
The CapEFA Programme is now a key driver in the UNESCO Education Sector Strategy, and acknowledged as such in the C/5, as it provides extra-budgetary support to the Sector’s 20 priority countries for education.
CapEFA intervention framework and processes
In relation to the national entry points for CapEFA, the programme responds to Member State demands for capacity strengthening within existing sector and sub-sector strategies, and national development frameworks. At the same time, it aims to harmonise capacity development action plans with those of sister UN agencies and bilateral technical partners working in the country. In addition, Field Offices and Headquarters work closely with, and encourage, multi-stakeholder partnerships in pursuit of national education goals.
Sector-wide analysis, needs assessment and resource/stakeholder mapping (which are undertaken by national stakeholders themselves) are usually the first step in embedding ownership of capacity development processes, and in ensuring that national and local actors recognize and ‘buy-in’ to the benefits of institutional and organizational innovation. In an age of decentralized education decision making, coordination and communications are also being strengthened between different levels of governance implicated in delivering on the 6 Dakar goals.
The balance of thematic and capacity development expertise needed to respond to national priorities is achieved by leveraging the expertise already available to UNESCO through its Regional Bureaux, Specialized Institutes, Communities of Practice and networks. A mapping exercise of UNESCO’s delivery capacity was carried out in 2008 to facilitate this work, outlining the kinds of expertise and services available across the Education Sector, including the IIEP, UIS, UIL, UNEVOC, IBE/RB & HQ.
Results and achievements
The CapEFA programme has already had a significant impact on UNESCO’s responsiveness to the needs of Member States. A flexible and continuously evolving intervention framework is however critical to ensuring that the skills and expertise assembled by UNESCO remain relevant in the future. To this end, Regional Bureaux and Cluster Offices play a pivotal role in dialoguing with Member States, quality assurance and programme monitoring, as well as knowledge generation and information sharing beyond participating countries.
The case of Ethiopia: From advocacy to action
In Ethiopia, the CapEFA programme has been operational since early 2009. UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) has worked closely with the Ethiopian Education Core Planning Team, as well as technical teams at Federal and Woreda levels and other development partners, to reinforce the skills and processes needed for the review of the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP) III and the elaboration of the ESDP IV.
Early results point to better understanding among federal ministry staff on strategic planning processes and the generation of solid baseline information regarding key capacity gaps at national and Woreda levels. Guidelines and tools for capacity building are in preparation, along with a detailed nationwide situation analysis on current education system performance levels, measuring progress in relation to the launch of the current Education Sector Plan.
Activities are also advanced in Ethiopia towards reinforcing the capacities of teacher education institutions (TEIs) in four regions: Oromiya, Amhara, SNNPR, and Tigray. The design of a Teacher Information Management System (TMIS) is considered a critical pillar of teacher education support systems in the country - as it will facilitate teacher-training performance monitoring and the development of quality assurance systems.
Notes and References
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- World Bank Capacity Development Resource Center
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - Capacity Development Home Page[permanent dead link]
- Learning Network on Capacity Development - LenCD
- Capacity.org - A gateway for capacity development
- Development Gateway Foundation
- European Center for Development Policy Management
- Impact Alliance
- World Bank Capacity Development Network
- Capacity4Dev - The European Commission's website for Capacity Development
- Partners for Education
- The Partnering Initiative