Conducting a Qualitative Evaluation of an Education Program
Education systems in many African countries often fail to equip young people with the necessary skills to succeed in the modern economy. High rates of youth unemployment are a problem throughout the continent. The NGO “Educate!” teaches skills to East African youth to improve their livelihoods and communities by building hard and soft skills, with a focus on leadership and entrepreneurship skills and changing attitudes among secondary school students. Educate! also builds pedagogical skills among teachers.
Educate!’s work in Uganda began in 2008. As of 2017, Educate! worked with 504 partner schools in the Eastern, Central and most recently, Northern regions. Educate! planned to continue to expand their program. Based on the initial schools involved, impact evaluations had demonstrated the program’s positive impact on students’ overall income, business ownership, employment, and community involvement (BRAC, 2017) (Educate!, Uganda RCT Midline Report, 2014). Now, as the program continued to expand and evolve, Educate! wanted to better understand how its impacts came about to inform future growth.
IDinsight conducted a qualitative evaluation to better understand how the program is perceived to impact teachers and students. The evaluation focused on six carefully selected case study schools, in which IDinsight interviewed multiple key stakeholders, and observed physical aspects of the school and the Associate Teachers’ classrooms.
Overall, the evidence collected by IDinsight suggested that the program was perceived – by school administrators, involved teachers (Associate Teachers), program fellows (Mentors), and the students themselves — to be equipping participating secondary school students (Scholars) with meaningful skills for school and life after school. Nevertheless, IDinsight also identified some key challenges and made recommendations on how the program could be strengthened building on the benefits already experienced by stakeholders.
IDinsight delivered 29 actionable recommendations for Educate! (mostly areas to look into and consider changes of emphasis in their program design and M&E systems). Educate!’s leadership thoroughly reviewed them and pursued 16 of them.