Since June 2010, progress has been made in some key areas of the EFA plan (with FTI and otherfunding): The development of a new basic education curriculum has continued; the work on anin-service teacher training strategy for untrained community teachers has recommenced;preparation for the evaluation of the reform extending primary education from five to seven yearsis in progress. The Ministry of Education is also moving forward with a process to strengthendecentralized planning and review mechanisms. While implementation is not at the level of whatwas expected at the time of the endorsement in 2008, there is a certain level of continuity in thesector development and notable efforts to move forward with key strategies.
Issues of concern
There is, however, recognition in the LEG that the level and prioritizing of governmentcommitment to education should be closely monitored
in particular to ensure that schoolsreceive school capitation grants (not released in 2009/2010) and community teachers are paid bythe government for the eight months per year not covered by the FTI funds. Lack of financing toschool level has resulted in schools turning to vulnerable parents for financial contributions. Atthe start of the 2010/2011 school year, most schools demanded registration fees from parents tosubstitute for the school capitation grants. School-level monitoring and spot checks revealworrying signs that enrollment may have dropped as a result of this practice, althoughcomprehensive data (through the Ministry of Education data collection system) are not yetavailable.7.
The Ministry of Education began to make the transfers of school capitation grants for 2010/2011in March, and the LEG is monitoring how much is provided per student in urban/rural contextsand by region. Likewise, after a delay in the payment of the community teacher salaries during thelast four months of 2010, the Ministry has recently completed the transfers for these four months.The LEG will continue to monitor. Since no joint sector review has taken place since 2008because of the political situation (apart from the 2010 consultations), an alternative joint review isbeing planned for the two first weeks of May, to assess progress, determine challenges and overall,to make recommendations with regard to theremaining FTI allocation of US$ 26 million.8.
A new Minister of Education was appointed on March 28, 2011, as part of the recent attemptedmove towards a consensual government mentioned above. As a result, changes in technicalpositions at central and decentralized levels could occur in the weeks and months ahead. Theupcoming alternative joint review will be an opportunity to ensure that the Ministry
technicalteam remains fully on board to ensure continuity.
Update on FTI funds supervised by UNICEF
US$ 15 million were released to UNICEF in December, 2009. These fundswere used during the 2009/2010 school year to cover three key activities:
Payment of salary subventions of 38,583 community teachers for 4 out of 8 months (January-April 2010)
Payment of school cash grants (local catalytic funds) for quality improvement in 11,494schools (these funds are intended to be complementary to and not substitute for the schoolcapitation grants)