Monitoring and evaluation of education sector plans

To help countries move from vision to reality, the educational planning process is always based on a monitoring and evaluation framework. This defines procedures and indicators that are often critical to ensuring the efficient implementation of education policies and reforms. IIEP-UNESCO goes further by providing technical support to countries to revise current ESPs, in order to assess progress and readjust short-term measures according to changing needs.

IIEP/Mariela Buonomo Zalabeta


Much progress has been made in recent decades in the quality of education sector plans. Many countries around the world now rely on a robust ESP. However, the implementation of these three-, five- or ten-year plans may encounter certain challenges related to the weakness of institutional structures, the need for stronger capacities, the insufficiency of financial resources, or unexpected crisis situations. Countries and donors therefore pay increasing attention to the need for regular monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of education plans. This requires:

  • Developing a monitoring and evaluation framework when preparing the ESP;   
  • Defining metrics and key indicators;
  • Outlining processes and assigning responsibilities;
  • Collecting and managing data with a reliable information system;
  • Ensuring that action is taken on the findings of the monitoring and evaluation exercises.

"We assist countries in going through the monitoring and evaluation of an education sector plan. We provide both technical advice and training, with a view to strengthening capacity. This learning-by-doing approach is always government-led, in close collaboration with country teams.

Mariela Buonomo Zalabeta, Programme Specialist at IIEP

Monitoring and evaluation of ESP: How can IIEP help?

Thanks to the expertise of its team specializing in the evaluation and monitoring of education systems, IIEP is able to meet two key needs of ministries of education:

  • Developing a robust and credible education planning system, incorporating a monitoring and evaluation framework with a set of appropriate indicators.
  • Facilitating the implementation of an ESP, making adjustments along the way and learning from the process.

According to the needs and requests of the countries, IIEP’s interventions can take different forms:

  • Monitoring and evaluation framework

A set of indicators, tools, and processes, defined during the preparation of the ESP or as a stand-alone exercise.

  • Joint sector review

A short-term ESP analysis of progress and fine-tuning process, led by the national government and in discussion with donors supporting the ESP implementation.

  • Mid-term review of ESP

A review of progress of the ongoing ESP at mid-point of implementation, led by the national government.

  • Final review of ESP

A sectoral analysis to assess progress, providing recommendations for the preparation of the next plan.

Evaluation of capacity-building programmes

In addition to the monitoring and evaluation of education sector plans, IIEP seeks to measure the effects of its own action on education policies and planning practices in partner countries. Our teams rely on an innovative approach to assess the impact of the capacity-building programmes. ‘Outcome harvesting’ first collects evidence of change at the institutional level or in professional practices, before analysing and evaluating the processes that led to this change.

This method applies to both IIEP training courses and technical support missions, which are always conducted with a view to strengthening national capacities.