Lesotho, a partner country since 2005, has committed to revitalizing sector monitoring and planning through the reestablishment of an annual, multi-stakeholder review of progress. Since January 2018, the country has been strengthening the monitoring arrangements for the Education Sector Strategic Plan 2016–2026 with the participation of relevant ministries, development partners, civil society organizations and other key stakeholder groups.
The GPE Secretariat worked with the planning unit in the ministry of Education and Training to provide guidance for organizing the review, including mapping existing knowledge, formalizing the key aims of the JSR and designing a roadmap for the 2018 exercise, led by a high-level committee and technical sub-committees. The meeting took place in June 2018. The team benefitted from tips and options in the guide in the run-up to the meeting and used the JSR self-assessment tool after the meeting to assess what aspects to improve in the 2019 review.
The Lesotho experience highlights the need for a process that is adapted to the country context and for tools that allow countries to build and improve on their current practices. It also reaffirmed the value of bringing together diverse stakeholders to share and analyze sector data and discuss progress.
With renewed confidence, Lesotho is beginning to pilot a new technology solution for their education management information system, which is expected to increase the availability and accuracy of data for decision-making during their JSRs and beyond.
Building communities of practice on joint sector reviews
The team involved in organizing the JSR in Lesotho expressed interest in exchanging experiences with other countries on how to organize and improve the effectiveness of JSRs. Across partner countries, there is a growing interest in learning from other countries’ experiences.
Communities of practice are emerging. In 2017, senior government officials from Madagascar and Chad attended as observers the third joint review of the interim education plan in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was followed by cross-country exchanges around the JSR in Chad, and more recently in Cameroon.
The GPE Secretariat supported the initial effort of experience sharing as part of its work on effective JSRs, through which it also tested the tools of the guide with country teams, now available as a toolbox to facilitate cross-country exchanges and peer learning.
Given that JSRs are key to monitoring education sector progress, GPE placed them at the heart of its strategic objectives and results framework. This reflects the importance that the partnership gives to sector policy dialogue through JSRs, as a means of monitoring performance and ensuring a responsive planning mechanism, and to translating mutual accountability into practice.