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Monitoring and Evaluation - A Landscape Analysis

The Zenex Fondation

ZENEX Foundation undertook a landscape study of M&E (with a specific focus on Educational Evaluation) in South Africa. The specific terms of reference for the study distinguished these main tasks. To inform the strengthening of institutional (university) capacity.To inform the strengthening of black organisational/Individual capacities to conduct evaluations .To strengthen the enabling environment.

Headline findings

1. There is a wide array of academic offerings in general programme evaluation (M&E) training both through full-scale academic programmes and modules within (mostly) post-graduate programmes at South African universities. Although these offerings are concentrated at 5 – 8 universities, we believe that these offerings are sufficient to meet the current demand for M&E training in the country.

2. The greatest constraint in M&E programmes in the country is the lack of capacity.

3. There is no dedicated M&E offering for Educational Evaluation in the country: neither as a comprehensive programme nor as an elective in an existing programme.

4. The greatest constraint to the development of a local and dedicated offering in Educational Evaluation (especially as a separate programme or even as a set of electives) is the lack of sufficient human resources and, to a lesser extent, financial resources. A very specific constraint is the lack of sufficient high-level expertise to supervise doctoral candidates in M&E.

5. A comparison with the international landscape shows that the goal to develop a dedicated educational evaluation offering would require an investment in human and financial resources that may be prohibitive for our case.

6. The field of M&E in South Africa is best described as a professional service-provision field. The programmes that are being offered are mainly aimed at providing the requisite knowledge and skills for M&E professionals and, especially, officials in government and the public sector. This also explains why our review of scholarship has found that it there is not a strong tradition of research scholarship in M&E in the country. Although there are some instances of publications and doctoral dissertations in the general field of M&E, the profile of this scholarship suggests that it is more incidental and ad hoc than indicative of an area of specialisation for most of the academics in the field.

7. Our study shows that there is definite scope to strengthen organisational level support for recruiting and developing black evaluators, especially as it also transpired that current policies to develop black evaluators have not been adequately realised.

8. The demand for M&E and capacity-building in M&E remains high in the country. This was also demonstrated in our analysis of donor demand. However, it is also fair to say that current M&E practices and evaluation ‘maturity’ amongst donor organisations diverge and hence that the demand for M&E capacity-building is not monolithic.