Measuring impact of education reform
Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi, Lagos Community Manager
Lagos, October 21, 2015
Education and its accessibility have been vital parts of the development agenda. However, it seems that measuring the quality of education has less of a focus than access. In Lagos, performance indicators for students and schools in the senior and junior level West African Examination Council (WAEC) tests have been chosen as a measure of quality and standard of education. In 2009, after growing concerns regarding the declining success in WAEC examinations for state-sponsored school children, the Lagos state government launched the Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project (Eko Project). The Eko project is committed to improving the standards of public education in Lagos. It focuses on enhancing the quality of education in both Junior and Senior Secondary (middle/high school) education by providing grants and support for technical and vocational education to sustain institutional reforms.
The Eko Project, which was developed through a World Bank loan, has been described as a major intervention transforming the performance of over 600 public secondary schools. Since the project’s inception, there has been a considerable increase in performance levels, and WAEC exanimation pass rates in Lagos. Performances at public examinations had improved from nearly a 19% pass average over five subjects, including mathematics and English, in 2009 to 45 percent (45%) pass rate by January 2015. The success of the program was measured through a baseline study in 2008, with increase and decline in performances measured over the years to ascertain success and areas needing more attention. In the baseline study in September 2008, 41% of students had a passing grade in the WAEC-administered WASSCE (West African Senior School Certificate Examination) in English, math and biology. By September 2014, this figure had increased to 84%, and in January 2015, a decline in pass rates for same courses was recorded at 70%. The project, however, has an end target of 85% pass rate by the end of 2015.
Also measured are the performances of academic staff and their ability to provide and manage quality education in public schools. This mechanism involved tracking teachers trained on improving delivery of core subjects and administrators trained to improve performance management of educational institutions. By December 2014, 7,576 teachers had been trained in core subjects (English and Mathematics) with a target to train 9,576 by the end of 2015, while 2,773 administrators such as principals were trained at the end of 2014 with a target of 4,609 by the end of 2015.
Also included under the Eko Project is the Support-a-School Program. It aims to encourage individuals, corporations/societies to get involved in making infrastructural and technical improvements by adopting schools, classrooms and laboratories and ensuring their maintenance. Infrastructural and technological upgrades were considered important due to the dire learning environment of public schools in Lagos, and the considerable impact the environment has on poor performances of students in examinations. With technological and infrastructural upgrades being vital parts of the program, the Eko project also included the development of the Secondary School Information Management System (SSIMS). SSIMS is a database for monitoring and evaluating secondary schools and education districts through data gathering in order to promote effective planning and administration. With all these measures in place, there are high hopes for the sustainability of the Eko project despite the World Bank support ending in December 2015. The established methods of impact measurement have thus far shown positive impact.
Photo: Wasi Daniju