MADAGASCAR: FTI Progress Report – April 2011

Background 1. After the political destabilization and unconstitutional government change in Madagascar in March, 2009, the future of the FTI allocation for Madagascar was uncertain. Since the new government was not recognized by the international community, the World Bank (as supervising entity) could not proceed with the preparation for the first transfer of the 2009-2011 allocation. The Local Education Group (LEG) therefore requested that a first part of the allocation be transferred to UNICEF as a transitional supervising and implementing entity. So far, UNICEF has received and managed a total of US$ 37,018,000 (two transfers) of the current FTI allocation for Madagascar. US$ 26 million remain to be disbursed in 2011 for the 2011/2012 school year. 2. The government of Andry Rajoelina is still seeking international recognition. Over the past two years, several moves have been made towards a consensual transitional government through international mediation. These attempts have failed to gain the support of all parties. The most recent roadmap, proposed by the Mozambican mediator Dr. Simao, was initialed by more than a hundred political parties but did not lead to international recognition. The refusal by the three former presidents Zafy, Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana to sign the roadmap, and their failure to recognize the recently formed transitional government, means that the situation remains blocked. A SADC meeting in April is supposed to make another attempt to move Madagascar out of its political gridlock. Positive impact of FTI in the education sector 3. The FTI support has played a crucial role in keeping the education sector development on track in Madagascar: After the initial rejection of the endorsed EFA Plan by the new Minister of Education in March 2009, there was high concern among the LEG that the sector would suffer from lack of clarity in policy, lack of continuity in sector development, lack of financing and overall, loss of the considerable progress made over the past decade. The almost complete turnover in technical leadership in the Ministry of Education, combined with a highly politicized context, raised legitimate capacity concerns. The likelihood of replacing the existing strategies to improve access, quality, governance and financing with new, appropriate strategies was considered extremely low. To the LEG, it was therefore important to ensure that the existing strategies be kept on track as much as possible. 4. Faced with this situation, the LEG used the FTI allocation to leverage for continuity: In response to the FTI request for an adjusted implementation plan in mid 2010, the LEG organized a study on the state of implementation of the endorsed EFA Plan in March-June 2010. The study culminated in consultations within the LEG and with the technical levels of the Ministry of Education. This enabled the EFA Plan to be revalidated by the Ministry of Education in June 2010. The consultations led to agreement on adjustments in the implementation of the Plan in view of the changed political and economic context, but the core of the sector development strategy was retained. This was a major achievement when taking into consideration the open rejection of the EFA Plan a year earlier. The agreement enabled the release of US$ 22,018,000 to UNICEF for the 2010/2011 school year.

5. Since June 2010, progress has been made in some key areas of the EFA plan (with FTI and other funding): The development of a new basic education curriculum has continued; the work on an in-service teacher training strategy for untrained community teachers has recommenced; preparation for the evaluation of the reform extending primary education from five to seven years is in progress. The Ministry of Education is also moving forward with a process to strengthen decentralized planning and review mechanisms. While implementation is not at the level of what was expected at the time of the endorsement in 2008, there is a certain level of continuity in the sector development and notable efforts to move forward with key strategies. Issues of concern 6. There is, however, recognition in the LEG that the level and prioritizing of government commitment to education should be closely monitored—in particular to ensure that schools receive school capitation grants (not released in 2009/2010) and community teachers are paid by the government for the eight months per year not covered by the FTI funds. Lack of financing to school level has resulted in schools turning to vulnerable parents for financial contributions. At the start of the 2010/2011 school year, most schools demanded registration fees from parents to substitute for the school capitation grants. School-level monitoring and spot checks reveal worrying signs that enrollment may have dropped as a result of this practice, although comprehensive data (through the Ministry of Education data collection system) are not yet available. 7. The Ministry of Education began to make the transfers of school capitation grants for 2010/2011 in March, and the LEG is monitoring how much is provided per student in urban/rural contexts and by region. Likewise, after a delay in the payment of the community teacher salaries during the last 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 2008 because of the political situation (apart from the 2010 consultations), an alternative joint review is being 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 attempted move towards a consensual government mentioned above. As a result, changes in technical positions at central and decentralized levels could occur in the weeks and months ahead. The upcoming alternative joint review will be an opportunity to ensure that the Ministry’s technical team remains fully on board to ensure continuity. Update on FTI funds supervised by UNICEF 9. 2009/2010 Transfer: US$ 15 million were released to UNICEF in December, 2009. These funds were 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 (JanuaryApril 2010) Payment of school cash grants (local catalytic funds) for quality improvement in 11,494 schools (these funds are intended to be complementary to and not substitute for the school capitation grants)

Construction of 226 classrooms in communities without schools and incomplete cycle primary schools (by ILO, Aide et Action and UNICEF).

10. 2010/2011 Transfer: Another US$ 22,018,000 was transferred to UNICEF in November 2010. The programmable amount after UNICEF’s 7% recovery cost was US$ 20,476,740. The activities covered were agreed during the consultations in June 2010 and adjusted in agreement with the LEG and technical levels of the Ministry of Education in September 2011. The state of implementation as of April 7 is as follows: Budget 2010/2011 (USD) Expenditure 31 March

Activity

Comments 38,585 FRAM teachers were paid for January/February. The March/April transfer will cover 39,585 teachers (increase of 1000 teachers) and is prepared for mid April. The increase in benefiting teachers was originally planned by the MoE to begin in January. The delay of this increase by two months reduces the initially planned budget, which will be adjusted accordingly with excess funds transferred to the school-support (local catalytic fund) budget. Canteens provided in 1138 schools for about 192 000 pupils in the food-insecure South for the 2010/2011 school year, funded by FTI (50%), Government of France (through debt swap) and WFP’s own funds. The Government of Norway is providing complementary financing for non-food items. 2,056,665 USD transferred to ILO; the remainder is managed directly by UNICEF. The list of sites has been agreed with the MoE for the construction of 220 equipped classrooms. The bidding is in progress and construction will begin on schedule after the rainy season (in May). Discussions are in progress on the adjustment of the strategy and implementation, including an assessment of resources in place at decentralized levels (teacher resource centres, training networks) to determine what additional support is required to implement the strategy. There will be a significant capacity building component targeting decentralized pedagogical support entities. Assessment of the situation of school manuals done in January/February at regional, district and zone level. A list of manuals to reproduce and distribute has been completed and the bidding is in progress. The funds will also cover the distribution to

Community (FRAM) teacher salary subventions

10,019,016.00

3,912,809.00

School canteens (implemented by WFP)

2,000,000.00

1,999,489.00

Construction (implemented by ILO and UNICEF)

4,000,000.00

2,109,448.16

In-service teacher training

600,000.00

0.00

School manuals / pedagogical materials

882,724.00

0.00

Student evaluation Support to piloting, monitoring and evaluation Support to improve the education information system

0.00

0.00

300,000.00

137,233.35

150,000.00

111,710.00

Capacity reinforcement

100,000.00

0.00

Local Catalytic Funds in 10 regions

2,425,000.00

2,365,820.82

Studies and evaluations

0.00

0.00

Joint Reviews / Workshops UNICEF 7% recovery cost TOTAL
1

0.00 1 541 260,00 22 018 000,00

0.00 1,541,260.00 12,177,770.33

school level of manuals and materials currently available at district level, as well as appropriate storage facilities at school level since these are lacking in many schools. A study on how existing manuals are used by teachers will also be among the activities. This activity will be financed on MoE’s own budget Monitoring by UNICEF, Unite d’Appui Technique1 (UAT) and MoE technicians also involves capacity building at decentralized levels. UNICEF is responsible for administration, planning and implementation of training activities; UNESCO is responsible for technical support. Although administrative support to UAT is included in the budget lines where UAT supports implementation, an additional budget is planned to ensure that the unit can remain operational until the end of 2011, as agreed with the LEG. Capacity reinforcement for planning at the MoE is also included in this budget. Data collection, training and preparation were carried out in January/February and transfers to 10,554 schools were released in March. In addition, remaining funds will cover specific activities by zone and district personnel to support schools, based on criteria and plans that will be verified by UAT. The transfer of unused funds from the teacher salary budget will enable around 7000 additional schools to benefit from the support through a second transfer, in line with the original EFA plan to gradually expand coverage. Other donor funds are available for this activity. A study on teaching practices is being prepared with funds from the Government of Norway, to feed into the development of the in-service teacher training strategy financed by FTI funds. These will be financed directly by the LEG partners.

UAT, a team of 16 technical experts, was established in 2005 to support piloting, monitoring and evaluation in the education sector, as well as management of donor funds. The unit was scheduled to be fully integrated in the MoE in 2009 but remained separated when the crisis changed the situation. The UAT plays a major role in the activities on teacher training, school manuals, FRAM teacher payments and local catalytic funds above. Support costs to enable the unit to continue to function and to carry out the following activities are calculated on this budget, as agreed by the LEG.

Risk management 11. The LEG recognizes that the volatile political and economic environment increases the risk of corruption and misuse of funds. Madagascar moved from the rank of 99 on Transparency International’s scale in 2009 to 123 in 2010. UNICEF operates within the UN’s implementation framework, adapted to the political crisis. Transfers of funds to government entities are generally avoided, and in cases where such transfers are necessary to reach vulnerable populations, they are subject to strict risk management measures. 12. In view of the relatively large amounts involved in the community teacher salary subventions and Local Catalytic Funds transferred to schools, UNICEF has established particular risk management measures for these activities in close consultation with the LEG and UAT. To assess the effectiveness of these measures, an independent audit was commissioned (with UNICEF’s own funds) on the FTI-funded payment of community teachers in 2010. The audit concluded that the risk management measures in place had been effective, and recommended minor adjustments for the 2011 payments. In 2011, the Local Catalytic Funds activity will be audited; these were subject to spot check verification in 2010. In turn, the FRAM teacher salary subventions will undergo spot check verification in 2011. The UAT undergoes annual audits, a practice in place before the current political crisis. Conclusion 13. In conclusion, worrying trends in education in Madagascar render financial support more important than ever. To ensure a more politically stable future, a functioning education system with improvements in access and quality is vital. FTI has played a positive role to this effect. The LEG continues to monitor government commitment and facilitate coherence, with the UN system/UNICEF ensuring the technical dialogue with the Ministry of Education to optimize harmonization and alignment despite the difficult political context. The alternative joint review in May will be crucial in determining the status of the implementation of the agreed EFA plan and the commitment of the Ministry of Education—with its new leadership—in honoring its engagements with FTI.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful