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26.06.12 15:23

KL to Conduct Pre-School Programme Review in Ghana

Local Government Denmark has been assigned to review the Alliance for Change in Education (ACE) project in the Northern Region of Ghana. The ACE project is a preschool programme in Gushegu and Karaga District and the review takes place in May/June 2012.

The review is conducted on behalf of the Danish ACE consortium of NGO’s consisting of Ibis- Education for change, the Danish Teachers Union and the Danish-Ghanaian Friendship Association.

This is the second review LGDK does for the ACE project. The first review took place in October/November 2009, when an exit strategy was prepared to guarantee sustainability of pre-schools – so-called wing schools - beyond the life of the project. The assessment made it possible for the project to understand the absorptive capacity of the two districts to take over, sustain and secure the upkeep of 56 wing schools and 200 teachers.

The first review identified a number of findings and recommendations based of the capacity needs assessments of the two districts. These included the following:

 

  • District Planning and budgeting processes did not meet the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) requirements for participatory planning. This meant a lack of pro-active engagement in local development. It was recommended that ACE project immediately support the District Assemblies (DAs) in the design of the 2010-2013 District Medium Term Development Plans (DMTDP) processes to make sure the phased-absorption of wing schools is reflected in plans and budgets.
  • DA plans appeared to have been a shopping list of construction activities rather than addressing strategic development objectives and how these could be achieved. Improve upon DA plans by linking local development priorities as captured in Community Action Plans with DMTDPs and Annual Action Plans (AAPs).
  • The DA planning and budgeting process did not seem to lead to a common development vision and activities of the district, and development partners were to a large extent seen as individual contributors rather than as being part of a common development effort. Promote composite planning and budgeting by broadening participation in the planning process.
  • District plans and budgets are required to be composite, implying that all development activities and funding targeting the district (central government, donors, own-revenues/Internally General Fund (IGF), etc) should be integrated into one plan and budget and should respond to the overall local development objective of the district. This was however not the case, the plans were observed not to reflect a thorough analysis of local development needs, nor reflecting Community Action Plans, but rather compiled  sector plans established with heavy central government influence. This situation was to change with improved bottom-up planning from Community level to Area Council/Town level and then to the District level.
  • District Assembly (DA) control over planning and service delivery was observed to be limited by the fact that most district activities were funded directly by the sector ministries as well as development partners. The weak planning and budgeting capacity was reflected by poor overall financial management; poor or low fiscal capacity (IGF) and procurement; poor or non-existent sub-structures (Area/Town Councils of DAs and functional District Education Oversight Committees (DEOCs) and District Education Planning Teams (DEPTs) of GES); the absence of AAPs; low transparency etc. The above listed planning capacity gaps were to be improved upon through a process of hands-on capacity building on the planning process.
  • It was generally observed that the transformation from top-down to bottom-up planning was not working.

In response to these finding and recommendations of improving the capacity to plan, budget and implement plans, broaden participation in the planning process and link Community Action Plans (CAPs) with District Medium Term Development Plan processes, the ACE has been:

 

  • Supporting the preparation of DMTDPs for the 2010-2013 period taking into account a phased-exit of the ACE project and DA takeover of the project.
  • Supporting the District Capacity Building Team to facilitate the development of Community Action Plans (CAPs).
  • Supporting processes to harmonise CAPs with Sector Plans and integrate all plans into DMTDPs as composite plans.
  • Supporting mid-term reviews of DMTDPs using the NDPC recommended guidelines for reviewing plans.

The upcoming review aims to:

 

  • Assess the extent to which recommendations of the 2009 capacity needs assessment have been implemented, notably the integration of ACE project phase-out plan within the 2010-2013 DA planning period.
  • Assess the extent of cooperation and relationship between GES and DA in the two districts, and their ability to absorb and support all 56 wing schools and 200 teachers with state resources.
  • Assess the functionality of Education structures (DEOCs and DEPT) and DA sub-structures (DPCUs and Area/Town Councils) within the current planning, budgeting and implementation capacity of the districts, particularly how the process takes on board community development priorities.

For further information, please contact Jens Peter Christensen, Senior Adviser and team leader for both the ACE reviews. jpc@kl.dk, +45 23296456

 

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