Capacity development: from concept to reality

24 July 2012
Beyond sector planning: the case of the United Republic of Tanzania


Capacity development: from concept to reality
Children at school, Tanzania Mainland. ©IIEP
Twelve years ago, the World Education Forum (held in Dakar, Senegal) gave new impetus to the international agenda on Education for All (EFA). A commitment was made that all countries with a credible EFA plan would get the necessary financial resources. As a result, many countries put much effort into the development of such plans, and many did so successfully. But some years down the road, it has become clear that plan development is only one step towards realizing EFA, and that plan implementation is in many cases a bigger challenge.
The successful implementation of plans depends on a wide range of actors, working at regional and district levels. At central level, the role of the ministry becomes one of guiding, monitoring, and evaluating implementation. Many ministries feel that their capacities in these domains need strengthening.

Monitoring and evaluation of policies and plans in the United Republic of Tanzania

The education ministries in the United Republic of Tanzania – in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar – found themselves in such a situation: Several education plans exist, but both the ministries and their development partners felt that too little attention was paid to the monitoring and evaluation of these plans.
Against this background, the UNESCO Office in Dar es Salam and IIEP worked together to support the ministries to draft a capacity development plan in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of education policies and plans. From November 2011 to May 2012, IIEP assessed the present capacities and the constraints to effective M&E. National teams were fully involved in this exercise. The constraints relate in part to the lack of skills, but several more complex factors also cropped up, such as the absence of a common vision on the purpose of M&E, the weak coordination between the many actors involved, the limited involvement by civil society, and too little attention given to feedback on what is learned through M&E.
Based on the capacity assessment, national teams in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar have drafted comprehensive capacity development plans during a series of working sessions, facilitated by the UNESCO Office in Dar es Salam and IIEP. The two plans will be discussed with the development partners and then proposed for funding to the UN Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP). Their implementation should begin in the last quarter of 2012.
This activity has strengthened the ministries’ capacities to analyze their own functioning and to come up with creative solutions, while it has allowed UNESCO and IIEP to fine-tune its capacity assessment methodology.
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