REACH Knowledge, Learning and Innovation Grantees 2015

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Photo: Chau Doan / World Bank

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Objectives: The overarching goal of REACH is to increase learning outcomes for children, increase the number of children who stay enrolled until they finish the secondary level, and bring out-of-school children into the education system.

Technical Innovation for Financing Results:
Results-based financing (RBF) has been shown to be effective in improving quality of service delivery across several sectors in low and middle income countries. The REACH trust fund has been established to test the effectiveness of RBF in the education sector. REACH funds programs that reward the delivery of education outcomes through financial incentives, upon verification that the agreed-upon result has been delivered, and does so in a manner that can be credibly sustained once the trust fund support ends.

Knowledge, Learning and Innovation (KLI) grants:
The objective of the KLI Grants is to expand knowledge about how results-based financing can be used to strengthen education systems in low and middle income counties. Proposals for these grants of up to 200,000 USD were selected for financing based on criteria that include the technical merits of the proposed activities, methodological rigor, relevance of contributing to the state of knowledge beyond the proposed country, the strategic opportunities for long-term engagement on the topic, the demonstrated commitment of clients, and the impact on country systems. Results can be broadly defined, including both outputs and outcomes. The research projects selected for grants represents a range of situations from low-income, fragile and conflict-affected countries to middle-income economies across three regions. At the end of the grant cycle, each research team will contribute a policy note or similar knowledge product to contribute to the growing body of global evidence and knowledge on RBF in education.

The grantees for the REACH KLI Grants 2015 are:

Haiti: From Financing Access Results to Learning Results.
The Government of Haiti has successfully increased primary school enrollment through a results-based mechanism called the Tuition Waiver Program, which pays schools fees for enrolling poor children in non-public schools. It intends to build on this achievement by providing financial incentives for schools to improve conditions, instruction, and learning outcomes for poor children in these schools, while reducing grade repetition and dropouts. The KLI grant is enabling Haiti to develop the capacity and systems necessary to develop a functioning RBF mechanism so as to inform future Bank and other donor funding, and, more importantly, national policy. Haiti’s experience of establishing these preconditions will generate knowledge about how to lay the foundations for RBF in low-income, fragile situations.

Indonesia: Piloting Performance-based Contracting in Schools in DKI Jakarta. Education officials in DKI Jakarta face two problems. Firstly, resource allocation in schools in Jakarta can be inefficient. Secondly, a set of National Education Standards governing student learning, teacher competency, and school facilities among others, have been created, but are not yet properly implemented in schools. This activity seeks to address both challenges by establishing a contract between the school and the local government linking key performance and competency indicators in the National Education Standards to school funding. This would improve the ways in which schools in DKI Jakarta plan their budget by ensuring that school programs and activities are linked to the performance indicators in National Education Standards. The KLI Grant is providing the research team with the resources they need to implement a pre-pilot, ensuring that a design is developed which can be scaled into a regional pilot if effective. The research will generate knowledge about designing incentives which link local budgeting to existing national standards.

Mozambique: Learning from Performance-based school grants. Ministry of Education (MOE) has engaged in a far-reaching reform program to upgrade teachers’ knowledge and performance, and strengthen service delivery at local level. The MOE intends to incentivize school performance by providing direct financial incentives through a performance-based school grants scheme, complemented by other key interventions aiming at improving local and school management. A school-grants scheme is already in place, but has not been as effective as was hoped. The KLI Grant will fund the pilot of a revised school-grants scheme, using lessons learned from the existing scheme to improve the incentive system. The team will simultaneously support the development of management tools for mid-level management, in particular school directors and district office, to enable them to administer the school grants effectively. This intervention will generate lessons learned about the challenges and successes of implementing school grants, with a focus on how they can support improvement in learning outcomes.  It will also provide evidence about the impact of strengthening mid-level school managers (school directors and districts officers) to perform adequate administrative and pedagogical supervision as part of a school grants program.

Mozambique: Keeping Rural Girls in School – Testing the Impact of Cash, Goods, and Information. In Mozambique rates of primary completion are low, especially in rural areas, where only 14% of males and 8% of girls complete upper primary school.  The KLI Grant will fund research which tests the effect of demand-side incentives on school attendance for girls. The study will compare the impact of providing girls with tokens to buy school-related items such as uniform and supplies, providing households with cash, and providing households with information about school attendance without any financial or in-kind incentive.  The research will generate knowledge about whether it is more effective to incentivize students or households, and about whether information is an incentive in itself.

Niger: Resolving the Indicator Bottleneck for Results Based Financing. The Government of Niger has access to a great deal of data about its education system and young population. Available data comprises learning outcomes (PASEC and EGRA), social development indicators, a population census from 2012, and household surveys. The Government of Niger is interested in using results-based financing mechanisms in its education system. However, the available data don’t yet translate into meaningful, usable, and reliable indicators that the government and donors can use in order to sharpen a focus on results. The KLI grant is enabling the Government of Niger, in collaboration with the World Bank, to establish a sustainable monitoring and evaluation system. This will lay the foundation for future results-based financing operations in education in Niger, using more effective indicators and best available data sources.  The Government of Niger’s experience in moving towards results-based policy in a resource-constrained environment is expected to produce useful lessons in establishing national data systems.

Rwanda: Pay-for-Performance for Teacher Recruitment and Retention. The Government of Rwanda has established a system of performance contracts for public-sector employees, which allows for performance-based bonuses averaging three percent of salary. The KLI grant is funding a study which builds on the existing civil-service contracts, by introducing a bonus scheme that rewards teachers who score within the top 20 percent of their district on this performance measure with a merit bonus worth 15 percent of base salary. The research will address two questions. Firstly, whether a pay-for-performance (P4P) scheme can improve teacher performance, and produce student learning gains. Secondly, how effective are P4P contracts at attracting skilled and motivated teachers to undersupplied schools, particularly in rural areas?  This research will generate information about how P4P schemes can alter the demographic spread and characteristics of teachers.

Tanzania: Aligning Teacher Pay with Performance of All Students. In 2015 the Government of Tanzania announced its commitment to improving access and quality in its education system by using innovative approaches to tackle long-standing problems in the quality of service delivery. This research provides teachers with bonus pay based on the learning outcomes of their students. The KLI Grant is funding a study which compares the impact of rewarding relative and incremental gains in student learning against rewarding teachers whose students pass a defined threshold. This research builds on a previous study by Twaweza that sought to test the efficacy of a simple pay for performance scheme that rewarded teachers if their students passed a simple test. By continuing to work in this set of schools, the research will provide insights into the “long term” effect of learning in an environment where teachers have a performance pay scheme. The research will generate information about how teacher pay for performance programs can be best structured to benefit all children.  

Tanzania: Incentives for Students to Stay – and Succeed – in School. In Zanzibar, almost half the students entering secondary school drop out before secondary completion. The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training Zanzibar intends to reverse this trend. The KLI grant is enabling the research team to generate clear guidance to the Ministry on how to design performance-based incentive schemes for students to maximize learning impacts and reduce dropouts at secondary level. The research will answer questions about whether individual targets or a team tournament is likely to be more effective to incentivize poorly performing students, and how results-based financing can help overcome psychological barriers that might prevent students from responding to performance-based incentives. This research is expected to inform the body of evidence on how financing demand-side incentives can lead to better results.

Vietnam: Are School Characteristics and Teaching Practices Reliable Proxies for Learning Gains? Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training is in the process of improving the general education teacher performance evaluation system, introducing new curricula and methods of instruction, and developing a comprehensive learning assessment system. Vietnam also has a large amount of data available about learning across the whole system. The KLI Grant is funding research which will use existing data to establish the underlying factors which affect school quality in Vietnam.  The results will be used to inform the redesign of the general education teacher performance evaluation system using evidence about what works in Vietnam.  The research will generate knowledge about Vietnam, and will establish a model which could be adapted by other countries to evaluate the factors which impact learning in their unique contexts.