Working Group on Education Management and Policy Support (WGEMPS)

Background

Governments and development partners in Africa are facing complex challenges posed by national, regional and continental development goals, such as the MDGS and EFA and AU Second Decade for Education objectives. For enabling results-based policy and management and formulating cost-effective strategies toward achieving these goals, policy-makers urgently need timely, reliable and relevant factual information and analytical capacity.

Moreover, as the worldwide economic crisis continues to squeeze the availability of external and national social sector funds, education has become one of the most visible areas to suffer financial cutbacks. Cross-pressured by dwindling financial resources and an ever-growing demand for education, education policy and decision makers need to be informed of the opportunities and challenges of various policy trade-offs and their impact on the vulnerable and chronically poor sub-populations in accessing basic services. Optimal strategic resource mobilization and targeted allocation are mission-critical instruments of effective education policy and strategy. Education planners and economists need to develop new skills and techniques for efficiently managing existing funds while exploring previously untapped resources. 

What is the ADEA WGEMPS?

Integrating the best of the formerly separate Working Groups on StatisticsFinance and Sector Analysis, the WGEMPS has been newly constituted to focus on the national capacity for informed decision-making and evidence-based policy and management. Designed as a catalytic agent for strengthening this capacity, WGEMPS programme promotes the development of coherent and mutually supportive functions of sound Education Management Information Systems (EMIS), sector analysis, financial planning and navigational tools necessary for informing policy and management decision-making. 

Following a strategy based on the principles of country leadership, ownership and partnership, the WG brings together as agents of change Ministries of Education, R&D and training institutions, agencies and experts in joint ventures and collaborative networks. Under the WGEMPS, the focus of the National Education Statistical Information System (NESIS) capacity development program now encompasses both the institutional capacity for management of evidence-based policy as well as the human and technical capabilities in Ministries for providing relevant, accurate and timely information in direct support of education policy formulation and implementation in all education fields and at all levels of the system.

WGEMPS has currently three operational nodes, one in Harare playing a central coordinating role and the other in Dakar covering West and North Africa. A third node is being established in Addis Ababa. where central coordination for the Working Group is likely to shift. Key members of the Working Group include country representatives of the five regions of Africa, development agencies and technical partners

What are the objectives of the working group?

The Working Group's main objective is to support the African Union and its Member States in developing sustainable institutional capacity for results-based policy and management of the education sector. As a full-fledged and sustainable African institution, it aims to achieve this by focussing on the development of education and training systems in Africa by:

  • Developing national capacity for monitoring implementation, evaluation of cost-effectiveness and impact assessment and their application for navigating (results-based) policy and management toward achieving education goals through identifying and reaching the unreached target groups and under-served target areas;
  • Providing forums where African decision makers and development partners exchange information, develop tools and sound policies for better management of resources allocated to education;
  • Developing and applying methodology for systematic diagnosis, formulating feasible national action plans, developing analytical capacity, promoting intra-country coherence and synergy, and developing a network of experts and institutions for collaborative training and mutual assistance;
  • Promoting awareness of the techniques and use of sector analysis, as it pertains to policy dialogue at the national level and with development cooperation institutions;
  • Strengthening national policy-making processes through improved quality, use and accessibility of education sector analysis;
  • Producing knowledge that is tailored to current African needs and facilitating the dissemination of relevant information and good practices to stakeholders, including ministries of education, finance and planning, civil society, development agencies and the research community.

What does the working group do?

WGEMPS provides advisory, technical assistance and training services and, in selected areas, sponsors pilot projects to introduce, develop and test widely needed innovation, in the fields of education finance, statistics and sector analysis. It also supports regional and international bodies - the AU, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UNESCO, UIS and UNICEF - in delivering capacity to monitor and track global agendas. 

WGEMPS' capacity building program is assisting AU Member States to meet the 2015 goals of the Second Decade for Education as well as their national and global development goals (EFA and MDGs). By drawing on synergies and ensuring coherent delivery of service to Member States, WGEMPS cooperates with other ADEA WGs and national and regional bodies in responding to identified country priority information needs. Material development for best practice - templates, databases, training materials, tertiary courses and manuals - is also at the core of the working group's mandate. In the light of limited or diminishing resources, the working group mobilizes funds for effective program implementation, including through provision of clearinghouse services in terms of publication and information services.

What are the working group's achievements to date?

WGEMPS is lead partner in monitoring the AU Plan of Action and in implementing the priority theme of EMIS continent-wide. It is a member of AU's Permanent Planning Committee on Education. Thus, its support to the AU comprises advocacy and facilitation, continental EMIS development and monitoring system, and institutional capacity building for continental integration and development. In playing these roles, it has achieved the following:

Advocacy of AU Plans of Action: WGEMPS presented the AU Plan of Action to UIS Anglophone African EMIS personnel meeting in Zanzibar in November 2007. It also presented the AU Culture Charter (2005) and Nairobi Plan of Action for Cultural Industries at an AU/SADC/UNESCO workshop on Culture in August 2009.

Advocacy and Facilitation: WGEMPS developed a concept note and a presentation on Monitoring Culture's Impact on Development. It also proposed a pilot study in a REC, for monitoring cultural statistics in the AU Plan of Action

Continental EMIS development and Monitoring System:

a. Indicators: WGEMPS has been instrumental in developing the indicators and templates for monitoring the African Union's Plan of Action for the Second Decade. It has facilitated consultation and training with some 43 countries and produced a data dictionary of definitions, methodology and interpretations. 

b. Database: The working group has been a leading role in creating the continental AU Database consisting of 145 data variables on all 53 African countries for 2006 and 2007. This tool, currently in English and French, has UIS sourced data, but has provisions for capturing national data. 

c. EMIS as a priority area: WGEMPS has undertaken country EMIS capacity assessments and developed response strategies in the SADC region. WGEMPS produced a report on EMIS capacity based on the EMIS Assessment survey and developed a regional strategy addressing EMIS Capacity, a monitoring framework which integrated AU indicators into SADC's Regional Implementation Plan for Education and Training, and EMIS Norms and Standards. ECCAS and ECOWAS are the next RECs to implement EMIS assessments.

Institutional capacity building for continental integration and development: 

WGEMPS has provided training to RECs and to 45 countries on how to develop country reporting templates and to produce indicators using the AU Outlook Database. 

How to contact the Working Group

Mr. Makha Ndao
Coordinator
8 Kennilworth Rd, Newlands
Harare 
Zimbabwe
E-mail: m.ndao@afdb.org