2019 Mongolia: Evaluation of Inclusive Basic Education in the UNICEF Country Programmes 2012-2016 and 2017-2021
Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 4
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
- SDG 4 - Quality Education
Purpose and Objectives of the Evaluation
The purpose of this formative “Evaluation of Inclusive Basic Education in the UNICEF Country Programmes 2012-2016 and 2017-2021” is to provide evidence-based information about the results achieved as well as lessons learned. The evaluation findings and recommendations will feed into the forthcoming UNICEF Mongolia’s Mid-term Review and the next country programming as well as into decision-making on education policies and processes in Mongolia. The intended users of this evaluation are UNICEF Mongolia, Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports (MECSS) and development partners. It is also aimed to help the other stakeholders such as line ministries and Civil Society Organisations as well as development partners engaged in the education sector to plan, implement and monitor their inclusive education related interventions.
The objectives of the evaluation are to:
- Examine UNICEF Mongolia’s engagement in policy level activities for improving a policy environment for supporting inclusive education;
- Analyse UNICEF Mongolia’s technical assistance and support for review and improvement of pre-service and in-service teacher training curricula and teacher training institutes’ liaison with regular general education schools for supporting special education within inclusive education settings;
- Assess UNICEF Mongolia’s inclusive basic education interventions implemented in its geographical focus areas (GFA); and
- Assess the complementarity of UNICEF’s interventions to the overall Mongolia’s agenda for universal education.
The evaluation has both summative and formative elements. Firstly, the evaluation assessed the end results of the Inclusive Basic Education interventions implemented during Country Programme (CP) period 2012- 2016, and secondly, it assessed the status of Inclusive Basic Education interventions of the current CP 2017- 2021, which is currently half way through its implementation.
Description of the intervention evaluated
The overall objective of the Inclusive Basic Education interventions is to promote universal access to education for the most disadvantaged children in Mongolia. Activities have been targeted to children from ethnic-linguistic minorities and monk boys, and the main focus of the interventions is children with disabilities, who, according to UNICEF, are the most disadvantaged in terms of education access in Mongolia. The interventions were implemented by UNICEF Mongolia Country Office (CO) in partnership with MECSS and local partners.
The main implementation strategies include evidence creation, policy dialogue and advocacy; capacity development and support to local level interventions. Local level interventions were implemented during 2012-2016 in six general education schools and four Non-formal Education Centres (NFC) in Khuvsgul province and Nalaikh district (a remote district of Ulaanbaatar). During the current CP 2017-2021 six schools in Bayankhongor, Gobi- Altai and Zavkhan provinces and Bayanzurkh district are supported. These local level interventions include conducting out-of-school children studies, the training of education officials and supporting the establishment of Child Development Centres (CDCs) in selected mainstream schools. In addition, four Non-formal Education Centres (NFC) have been supported in the target areas to provide an enabling environment to students enrolled in equivalency programmes of out-of-school-children. The upstream activities at national and subnational level included the provision of technical assistance to policy dialogue, capacity development and the review of teacher pre-service and in-service training curricula. Comprehensive financial data on the interventions was not available to the evaluators as the activities were financed from different programmes.
The evaluation used mixed-methods including in-depth document review, policy analysis, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and observations to gather information from a broad range of stakeholders. Data on enrolment of students with disabilities was collected from all supported schools. Students, their parents, and teachers in CDCs as well as school administrators and support staff of the supported schools were interviewed. A teacher survey was conducted among mainstream teachers in nine targeted schools to get an overview on how they perceive inclusive education. For the purpose of this evaluation, a total of 29 policy documents and laws were reviewed, and a total of 351 individuals were engaged as informants in 150 face-to face interviews and 7 focus groups. The Outcome Harvesting method was employed in the interviews and focus groups to collect evidence of what has changed (“outcomes”) and then, working backwards, to determine whether and how the intervention has contributed to these changes. The evaluators visited nine out of 12 educational institutions (schools and NFC) supported by UNICEF covering schools both in urban centres and rural soums (districts) equally. The evaluation criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability, and equity issues were applied and triangulation was used for data analysis.
Based on the evaluation findings, and after drawing the conclusions, the evaluation team drafted recommendations targeted at MECSS, UNICEF Mongolia and for the remaining period of the programme implementation until 2021 and beyond. The recommendations are presented below by evaluation criteria and with reference to the implementation period: short term (by 2020); medium term (by the end of the current programme till 2021) and long-term (for the next UNICEF CP period). Categorization by priority (high/ medium) and by type of recommendation (strategic/ operational) is presented in Chapter 8 of this report. Recommendations for the forthcoming Mid Term Review are also provided. The Reference group validated the key conclusions and recommendations and provided its inputs.