To support its school readiness programmes UNICEF Bangladesh had sought innovative approaches and decided to participate on a global piloting, namely Getting Ready for School – A Child-to-Child Approach (GRS). The GRS implementation started in March 2009 and the purpose of the pilot initiative was to increase the successful transition of young children into primary school by providing them with school readiness skills, engage family members and the community as capable partners in early childhood education, and improve the ability of schools to successfully engage their youngest learners. The post-intervention data collection and data entry conducted in two phases. This study covered the 1st& 2nd phase which started on 2 November 2009 to ended on 31 December 2009.
Project Description: The GRS intervention was a 35-week program designed to reach preschool aged children, namely young learners, a year before they were eligible to enroll in primary schools. Older children, also called as young facilitators, were paired with one or two of young learners through a series of weekly activities, and helped them prepare for starting school at the right age. The learning was happening at school and home. In most of the schools, the school level sessions supervised by the teacher were conducted on Thursday afternoons after school hours. More variation was seen at the home level; some of the most eager pairs meet every day, whereas the others conduct session approximately two-three times per week.
The GRS was piloted in 30 schools in six upazilas of six districts across Bangladesh. The survey areas comprised of 6 intervention Upazilas and 6 control Upazilas. Altogether, there were 90 teachers, 429 young facilitators and 854 young learners taking part on the piloting project. Most of the young facilitators were fifth graders, but a considerable number of fourth and even third graders were taking part on the project.
In order to determine the effectiveness of the GRS pilot project, both young learners and their families, in addition to young facilitators and teachers are being evaluated before and after the implementation. Since GRS is a global UNICEF-HQ lead pilot program, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) had been engaged to conduct overall evaluation of the program. AIR had designed the evaluation of the program, including the tools for data collecting. AIR is also conducting the final data analysis and consequently produces an evaluation report. UNICEF country offices were in charge of conducting the data collection, recording and sending all data to AIR.
Tasks carried out by Mitra & Associates:
Survey Methodology (Sample design & Tools): Sample of 432 young children/parents from intervention and 451 young children/parents from the control areas had taken. On top, 410 young facilitators and 59 implementing and 43 control teachers were also interviewed/surveyed, and school records collected from all 30 intervention and 30 control schools. All the aforementioned baseline evaluation participants re-evaluated at the end of the pilot intervention. In addition, three new instruments introduced, namely parents’ supplement outcome survey, as well as head teacher and SMC Chairman Interviews with open-ended questions. The interviews of Head Teachers and SMC Chairmen conducted in the 30 intervention schools only.
Questionnaire (Structured & Unstructured) & other tools: Data collection involved both home-based interviews and child assessments, and school level interviews. The home visits carried out in pairs, i.e. one interviewer will conduct child assessment while another is interviewing a parent. Also, the teacher survey and in-depth interviews of head teachers and SMC Chairmen conducted. Questionnaire is supplied by UNICEF and, translated and pre-tested by Mitra.
A unique ID was assigned to each participant and the same ID gave to the same participant during the post-intervention data collection.
Data collection & quality Control: Four teams have completed the data collection. The proposed number of teams are based on the calculation that an interviewing team would be able to complete one school of control areas. A team will consist of one supervisor, four interviewers and a logistical assistant. Research officers were in charged for quality control checks of data collection by randomly visit the field to and to physically verify.
Training: A 5-day comprehensive training programme organised for the field personnel. The training designed to prepare the interviewers and supervisors for equipping them with the required knowledge and skills.
Data Processing: Data were doubly entered and cleaned & submitted to the client.
Client Reference: The Supply & Procurement Section, UNICEF-BCO, BSL Office Complex, 1 Minto Road, Dhaka-1000.