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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Lc- Basic Educ Reform


  
1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
06/14/2001   
PROJ ID:
P038698
Appraisal
Actual
Project Name:
Lc- Basic Educ Reform
Project Costs(US $M)
 12.83  14.1
Country:
St. Lucia
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 6.73  6.25
Sector, Major Sect.:
Education Adjustment,
Education
Cofinancing (US $M)
 4.06  4.04
L/C Number:
C2676; L3837      
   
Board Approval (FY)
  94
Partners involved
Caribbean Development Bank 
Closing Date
04/30/2001 10/31/2000
         
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Helen Abadzi
Timothy A. Johnston Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The overall objective was to accelerate resource development to ensure that the requisite manpower exists to attain the desired economic transition in Saint Lucia. The project supported the first stage of a basic education reform through the more immediate objectives of (a) strengthening the planning and institutional capacity of the Ministry of Education to guide and carry out the long-term development of the sector, while enabling it to initiate significant, urgent measures to address system-wide qualitative problems and expansion needs at the secondary level; (b) revision of primary and secondary teacher- student ratios, in line with ratios of countries at similar levels of economic and social development.

b. Components
The project comprised three major components: (a) sector planning and institutional strengthening, which financed fellowships and expert services in educational planning,data management, project management, and auditing, equipment, furniture, supplies, study tours, local training, and policy studies; (b) qualitative improvement of basic education, which financed fellowships for teacher trainers, teachers, curriculum specialists, personnel involved in editing, publishing, and measurement; expert services in curriculum design and research, educational materials production, school supervision, testing, inservice training, and related furniture, equipment and supplies; (c) expanded access to schools; construction of four secondary schools, rehabilitation of selected primary schools, furniture, equipment, training in preventive maintenance.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
The project closed six months behind schedule.


3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The immediate objectives were substantially achieved. The project met or exceeded almost all its physical and enrollment targets. The achievement of an overall, long-term goal of attaining economic development in St. Lucia is unclear at this time. Furthermore, no clear evidence was presented that quality or efficiency gains were achieved.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

By the end of the project, enrollment in secondary schools rose to 12,687, a 7.8% increase compared to the beginning. Through additional buildings in poorer areas, students from undeserved areas obtained access to secondary education. Secondary school teacher-student ratios changed from 1:17.5 to 1:20 during the project period, an indication that more students were being served. At the primary level they remained the about the same, 28, short of the target of 30 that the project utilized. About 180 principals and senior teachers commenced a management training program towards the end of the project. Curricula were developed and textbooks were distributed. All 84 primary schools of the island obtained science kits to teach a revised curriculum. A comprehensive long-term education sector plan was prepared, through which two new projects were approved. A management information system was developed, which helps produce annual statistical reports, and statisticians were trained to handle it. Seven policy studies were completed. Despite various difficulties, the government showed high commitment and implemented the project effectively.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

Implementation capacity and capacity for reform were overestimated during preparation. Despite lessons from an earlier vocational education project, many activities had been scheduled for the early phases of the project, and the project implementation unit was not prepared to carry them out. The civil works component was not sufficiently prepared, and this caused long startup delays.School maintenance continued to be poor. The completed policy studies were analytically weak, partly due to a lack of attention by the Ministry of Education, which had minimal capacity in this area. Student performance is national examinations has remained unsatisfactory, but it may be too early for project effects to influence student achievement. New marker tests were introduced later than anticipated, and were only reviewed in the last year of the project to assess their validity. Student-teacher ratios is a poor way to assess the efficiency of the sector, given their rural-urban variations. Increasing student-teacher ratios has not yet brought about more efficient use of resources, though it may do so in the future.
6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Outcome:
SatisfactorySatisfactory
Institutional Dev.:
SubstantialSubstantial
Sustainability:
LikelyLikely
Bank Performance:
SatisfactorySatisfactory
Borrower Perf.:
SatisfactorySatisfactory
Quality of ICR:
Satisfactory

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

- Projects expecting to make extensive organizational changes should include a communication and change management strategy so that all stakeholders are fully aware of objectives and implications.
- Implementation and disbursement projections ought to take an agency's implementation capacity in consideration. Often they are too optimistic, and outcomes turn out to be disappointing.
- Monitoring and impact indicators must be clearly articulated prior to implementation and given emphasis throughout implementation.
- Persons who are expected to implement a project should participate in the analysis of issues and project design. They should also be informed of details through project launch workshops.

8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  It is the first project that the Bank has implemented in this country. It could be audited together with other projects in the Caribbean.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR was sufficiently clear and detailed to give a view of the project's events. However, did not present analyses on issues such as student-teacher ratios and evidence on quality improvement or the low student achievement scores. (These may be premature.) Also, it did include commentaries on the coordination between the two donors.

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