Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation provides a consolidated source of information of project progress that contributes to transparency, accountability, retention and finally to the development of an institution. It also helps in the evidence-based policy making and ensures that desired outcomes are achieved. Owing to critical importance of the process, Government of the Punjab (GoPb) has instituted a comprehensive school monitoring mechanism. Its key components are Annual School Census and Monthly Monitoring System. At the apex of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system is the Program Monitoring and Implementation Unit (PMIU), which works in conjunction with the Department of School Education, acting as the monitoring and implementation wing of the Department. PMIU’s key task with regard to monitoring is to regulate an effective data collection system at the district level.

The lynchpin of the GoPb’s school monitoring system is the office of the District Monitoring Officer (DMO), based at district and reporting to the PMIU. There are 36 DMOs in all and they are monitoring about 53,000 schools across the province. The DMOs supervise a field staff of Monitoring and Evaluation Assistants (MEAs), who are responsible to undertaking regular field visits and collect data on specified monitoring indicators. There are 929 sanctioned posts of MEAs across the province. Each district has number of MEAs proportionate to its number of schools. The MEAs are recruited and funded by the Chief Minister’s Monitoring Force (CMMF) which functions directly under control of the Secretary School Education. The MEAs are mostly retired army personnel, hired by the department on contracts basis. Their performance is evaluated at the end of the contract period by the concerned DMO.

MEAs are assigned “school clusters” in such a way that they are able to visit at least 4 schools per day. At least 90% of schools in the district have to be covered by MEAs each month. MEAs’ circles are rotated every month, which prevents MEAs from forming personal relationships with the school staff of a particular area. MEAs have been provided with Tablet PCs containing online monitoring application. MEAs fill their report on the monitoring proforma, which checks for the status of basic facilities, enrolment and teacher attendance among other things.

The monthly monitoring data collected by the MEAs is used for monthly, quarterly and annual ranking of the Districts and Divisions. The key use of the monitoring data is the development of a composite index, which assigns weightage to different indicators in the monthly monitoring forms, and is then used to rank district performance. The composite index of district performance is prepared on monthly basis at the district level, and is presented by the DMO in the monthly meeting of the District Review Committee, chaired by the DCO while DMO acts as the secretary of the District Review Committee. The Committee reviews the month’s progress, and takes decisions on issues highlighted through the composite index. The index also enables a comparison across districts, and helps the PMIU to provide feedback to district governments on areas where administrative measures have to be taken.

In practice, the issue of teacher’s absenteeism has been the most frequently highlighted issue for all districts. The M&E system enables the identification of specific individuals whose attendance is irregular, and both the PMIU and DMOs have provided lists of such employees to the district governments for further action. Generally, the absentees get minor penalties however in case of prolonged absence, major penalties like removal from service are also imposed upon the absentees.

In addition to cross-checks across the two databases and triangulation of data, third party validations (TPVs) have been institutionalized in the monitoring process under the aegis of the PESRP. To-date, seven TPVs have been carried out to test the validity of various data on monthly monitoring, enrolment, quality of civil works, supply of furniture, provision of missing facilities, receipt of stipends and free textbooks.