With better quality information to hand and better incentives to use it, policymakers will improve the design and implementation of education systems.
Alex Hurrell Alexandra Doyle Alina Lipcan Andrés Arau Chris Hearle Cora Mezger Florian Friedrich Georgina Rawle Gunilla Pettersson Gelander Ian MacAuslan Ifeatu Nnodu Johanna Wallin Keith Hinchliffe Rebecca Molyneux Rob Morris Robert Smith Sardar Kar
Education Data, Research and Evaluation in Nigeria (EDOREN) was a five-year DFID-funded project that aimed to generate new evidence and understanding of how best to support equitable access and improved learning outcomes for all Nigerian children through innovation and sustainable education systems development.
The project had two central objectives:
- The project aimed to embed research, evaluation and learning in DFID’s education sector support in Nigeria. This involved adding value to, and improving the performance of, DFID Nigeria’s current basic education sector portfolio (the GEP3, TDP, DEEPEN, and ESSPIN programmes), and informing DFID Nigeria’s education strategy.
- The project also aimed to enhance national capacities to generate and use quality educational data, research, and evaluation for policy and strategy making. This required all EDOREN activities, whether in support of the DFID Nigeria education portfolio or separately, to apply well-articulated approaches to the development of individual and/or organisational capacity. It also entailed working with stakeholders and partners to increase both the demand for and the capacity to supply high-quality educational data for policymaking.
With the largest number of out-of-school children in the world, and an education system beset by severe challenges, Nigerian efforts to improve the sector had for years been hampered by a severe lack of high quality sector data. In addition, DFID's existing education sector programmes in Nigeria required evaluations of individual interventions and their outcomes. EDOREN was designed to address both challenges, to provide a basis for improved policy making, and improved DFId programme implementation.
Outputs to achieve the project’s objectives were grouped in four areas:
- evaluations, reviews, and operational research studies for DFID Nigeria education programmes;
- primary and secondary studies on key basic education issues in Nigeria;
- education database, data tools, processes, and data reviews, including support for Education Management Information systems and the Nigerian Annual School Census; and
- derived knowledge and dissemination products, services, and initiatives.
EDOREN strongly contributed towards the development and improvement of the GEP3, TDP, and DEEPEN programmes. In parallel, EDOREN supported DFID’s portfolio development overall, by coordinating meetings across the education programmes, and providing strategic advice and expert inputs to DFID for programme development and planning. EDOREN continuously and comprehensively improved evidence uptake among key stakeholders in target states, building and extending evidence use capacity across several states, at the Federal Ministry of Education, and at UBEC, in addition to fostering dialogue between state systems and academia across the sector.
The programme pioneered institutional exchange through a fellowship programme, to enhance collaboration between the demand for, and the supply and use of, evidence in education decision making. In addition, EDOREN pioneered a collaborative research model for questions of teacher recruitment, deployment, training, and monitoring, resulting in the development and implementation of new teacher policy and practice in several states. Finally, EDOREN’s Integrated School Database, built on EDOREN’s support for the Annual School Census, is actively used by ministry officials across states, as well as Nigerian academics.
EDOREN leaves behind a significantly altered landscape within parts of the Nigerian education system. Both policymaking and implementation – and most importantly: the thinking around evidence use, communication, and collaboration for both processes – has changed in key target states (Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Zamfara, Katsina, and Borno), as well as in parts of UBEC and the FME. In addition, the rich and detailed evidence base (that remains available) will continue to be useful to policymakers, the media, civil society organisations, and Nigerian researchers.
Most enduringly, EDOREN comprehensively changed the evidence base available for education sector research, planning, donor programming, programme monitoring, and aid implementation. EDOREN’s large-scale mixed-methods evaluations have yielded rich, high-quality quantitative data across key states that has been and will be extremely relevant for further planning beyond immediate aspects of improving those programmes.