The NEPAD e-SchoolsDemonstration Project:A Work in ProgressA Public ReportA PUBLICATION PREPARED FORTHE COMMONWEALTH OF LEARNING & infoDEVBY:Glen FarrellThe Commonwealth of LearningShafika IsaacsMindset NetworkMichael TrucanoinfoDevICT AND EDUCATION SERIES

2007Commonwealth of Learning1055 West Hastings, Suite 1200Vancouver, British ColumbiaCanada V6E 2E9www.col.orginfoDev / The World Bank1818 H Street, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20433U.S.A.www.infodev.orgAll rights reservedThe findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed herein are entirely those of theauthor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Commonwealth of LearninginfoDev, the Donors of infoDev, the International Bank for Reconstruction andDevelopment/The World Bank and its affiliated organizations, the Board of ExecutiveDirectors of the World Bank or the governments they represent, or any otheragency or government identified. The Commonwealth of Learning and the World Bankcannot guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The boundaries, colors,denominations, and other information shown on any map in this work do not imply on thepart of the Commonwealth of Learning or the World Bank any judgment of the legalstatus of any territory or the endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries.

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportTABLE OF CONTENTSAcknowledgmentsAcronyms and AbbreviationsReport LimitationsiiiiiiProject BackgroundvNEPAD e-Schools Overview - The ‘Demo Project’ - Implementation Timelines - M&E of the DemoProject - Special Note – Table: Demo Implementation StatusExecutive Summary1Background - Summary Comments - Project Implementation - Unanticipated Outcomes - LessonsLearned - Assessment of School-based outcomes1. General Observations on the Implementation of the Demonstration Project72. Summary ObservationsDemo Project ObjectivesDemo Project AssumptionsUnanticipated OutcomesConstraints & ChallengesImpact on SchoolsImpact on ICT Policy Planning and Policy Development111113151616183. Recommendations for the e-Africa Commission194. Concluding Remarks21AppendicesAssignment of Consortia to Countries and SchoolsNEPAD e-Schools Outcomes and Impact Indicators2327.

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Report

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportACKNOWLEDGMENTSThe monitoring and evaluation team would like to acknowledge the gracious contributionsof many committed organizations and people who served as key resources and inputs intothe M&E process. These organizations include the Commonwealth of Learning; infoDev;IDRC; the NEPAD e-Africa Commission; the Country Liaison Persons (CLPs)coordinating the 16 country initiatives; members of each private sector consortiaimplementing the project; participating ministries of education; and the teachers, studentsand heads of the 96 participating schools.Report Editors:Lead Editor: Glen M. Farrell, Team Leader, Monitoring and EvaluationContributing Editor: Shafika Isaacs, Education Director, Mindset NetworkConsulting Editor: Michael Trucano, Education Specialist, infoDevi

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONSCLPCOLeACinfoDevISPADM&ENEPADCountry Liaison PersonCommonwealth of LearningNEPAD e-Africa CommissionInformation for Development program (at the World Bank)Information Society Partnership for Africa’s DevelopmentMonitoring and evaluationNew Partnership for Africa’s Developmentii

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportREPORT LIMITATIONSThe monitoring and evaluation of the NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project primarilyfocused on assisting the e-Africa Commission, participating Ministries of Education, andthe members of the five consortia leading project implementation in learning about theprocesses of managing a complex public private partnership, the training and supportrequirements for teachers, the provision of curriculum-relevant digital content, and,learning how best to assess the implementation of ICT in schools.While the project should still be considered a work-in-progress, this ‘public report’ is notan end-of-project, summative evaluation. Rather, it is meant to share some of the generallessons learned by project stakeholders to date with a larger community of interest.This report should be read with the following limitations in mind: The observations are focused on general “lessons learned” rather than on anassessment of impact; The observations represent a synthesis of the data collected during the M&Eprocess of the Demo project, and do not comment on individual countries, consortiaor specific ICT models; The data during the M&E exercise collected were primarily qualitative, based onthe perceptions of respondents, with only limited on-site verification by theresearchers.iii

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Report

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportPROJECT BACKGROUNDNEPAD e-Schools OverviewA major component of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is thedevelopment of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, which isconsidered essential to the achievement of long-term, sustainable socio-economicdevelopment on the African continent. The NEPAD e-Africa Commission (eAC) has beentasked as the coordinating organization responsible for developing and implementing ICTprojects, one of which is the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative.NEPAD e-Schools is a multi-country, multi-stakeholder, continental initiative to: Teach ICT skills to young Africans in primary and secondary schools.Improve the provision of education in schools through ICT applications and theuse of the Internet.There is extensive private sector involvement in the e-School initiative through theInformation Society Partnership for Africa’s Development (ISPAD), which brings togetherfiscal and human resources, ICT infrastructure and curriculum materials from private andpublic sector partners and civil society.The ‘Demo Project’The first phase of the initiative is a Demonstration (Demo) project that is beingimplemented by the private sector partners, organised into five ‘consortia’, led by AMD,Cisco, HP, Microsoft and Oracle. The purpose of the NEPAD e-Schools Demo is to accruea body of knowledge, based on real-life experiences of implementing Information andCommunications Technologies (ICTs) in schools across the African continent, which willserve to inform the rollout of the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative. More specifically, theobjectives of the Demo project are to: Determine typical e-School scenarios and requirements in various circumstancesin Africa.Highlight the challenges inherent in a large-scale implementation of e-Schoolsprogrammes.Monitor the effectiveness of multi-country, multi-stakeholder partnerships.Determine “best practice” and exemplary working models for the large-scaleimplementation of the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative, which aims to equip morethan 550,000 African schools with ICTs and connect them to the Internet by2020.Demonstrate the costs, benefits, appropriateness and challenges of a satellitebased network.Demonstrate the costs, benefits and challenges of ICT use in African schools.v

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportThe Demo project is being implemented in six schools in each of 16 countries across Africathrough partnerships that involve private sector consortia, the country government andeAC. The role of each partner is set out in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signedby the partners. (A list of participating countries, including the consortia assigned to eachcountry and the schools involved, is included in Appendix A.) A full list of the members ofeach consortium is available from eAC.Under the terms of the MOU, the consortia were to provide schools with an e-school modelthat included equipment, networking, connectivity, training and curriculum-relevantlearning materials. They were also to support the operation of e-school activities for oneyear following implementation. The eAC’s responsibilities included managing and coordinating the project; handling communication between partners and with media;facilitating the signing of MOUs; and ensuring the conduct of research, monitoring andevaluation. Each participating country committed to select six schools, to provideappropriate physical facilities for the equipment at each school and to facilitate theimplementation and operation of the project by naming a country liaison person (CLP) toensure co-operation between the ministry and the implementing consortia.Implementation TimelinesInitially, the Demo project was intended to last 12 months. Implementation has occurred ata slower pace than originally envisioned. The NEPAD e-Schools Initiative was publiclylaunched at the 2003 African Economic Summit in Durban, South Africa on 13 June, 2003.The first NEPAD e-School was launched in October of 2005 in Uganda. Implementation ofall schools participating in the Demo is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of2007.M&E of the Demo ProjectGiven that the NEPAD e-Schools Demo was essentially intended as a learning exercise toinform the responsible rollout of the broader NEPAD e-Schools Initiative, it was decidedthat the Demo should include a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E)component.The Commonwealth of Learning, at the request of the e-Africa Commission, led themonitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the Demo project in partnership with the Informationfor Development Program (infoDev), a multi-donor partnership housed at the World Bank.Dr. Glen Farrell led the M&E process on behalf of COL and, as of May 2006, was assistedby Ms. Shafika Isaacs, a former Executive Director of SchoolNet Africa and now theEducation Director at Mindset Network, located in Johannesburg, South Africa. At COL,this project was initiated by Vis Naidoo and then managed by Paul West. Michael Trucanowas the task manager for this project at infoDev.This M&E process served the following purposes:vi

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Report It provided the managers and decision-makers responsible for implementing theDemo project with information and feedback as the project proceeds in order forthem to make any necessary adjustments.It synthesised the lessons learned during the Demo project and maderecommendations for the comprehensive rollout of the NEPAD e-Schools Initiativein a summary report at the end of the demonstration period.It provided a ‘model’ for the eAC, ministries of education, and, participatingconsortia how NEPAD e-Schools may wish to monitor and evaluate variouscomponents and activities of the project going forward by identifying related costs,human resource needs, coordination and planning implications, etc. For example,the CLP for Kenya developed an M&E strategy based on the Demo model that wasthen used by the Kenya Implementing Team to assess performance of theimplementation in that country.The monitoring and evaluation plan called for quantitative and qualitative data collectionvia questionnaires, focus groups, project reports, interviews and teacher logs, from a varietyof sources including government departments, school principals, teachers, students,consortia leaders and the project team at the eAC.The M&E process reported on the extent to which the Demo achieved the objectives ofNEPAD e-Schools, as well as on the appropriateness of interventions and the process ofimplementation.A special note on this ‘public report’This public report on the NEPAD e-Schools Demo Project summarises the general lessonslearned from the Demo Project. It is important to note that this public report does notcomment specifically on the activities of individual consortia or consortium members, noron specific activities in participating countries.Even though the Demo project has not been fully implemented in all countries, this publicreport is being released now because of the need for reasonable consistency in datacollection and provision of feedback to those countries that are ready for the next phase. Itis, therefore, a report of a work in progress rather than an end-of-project, summativeevaluation.This public report draws on information and analysis presented in a series of internal M&Ereports to the eAC during the life of the Demo project and marks the completion of theagreement between COL, infoDev and eAC on the leadership of the M&E component ofthe Demo project. Two interim internal reports were provided to the eAC in January andJuly 2006. The first internal report included a summary of baseline data gathered from theschools prior to the start of the Demo implementation, as well as feedback to the partnersregarding the implementation process and how it could be improved. The second interiminternal report also focused on the Demo implementation process, the issues and challengesbeing encountered, and recommendations for dealing with them. It also addressed somepost-Demo questions and issues that were emerging. A final internal report was providedvii

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Reportto the eAC in January 2007, summarising the progress made to date in those schools wherethe Demo has been fully implemented for a period of time and the lessons learned from thatexperience. All three internal reports are available from the eAC (for updated contactinformation for this project at the eAC, please see for this final public report have been gathered from the following sources: Questionnaires, comparable to those used to collect baseline data, completed byteachers, students and school heads at those schools where the project has beenfully implemented for a minimum of three months. (A fully implemented schoolis defined as one having all equipment installed and operational, a cadre ofteachers trained, digital learning materials available, and an Internet connectionfunctioning.)A questionnaire, designed to assess the impact of the Demo on policydevelopment, completed by a Ministry of Education official in each country.A report from each of the country liaison persons (CLPs) on the status andimpact of the Demo in their country.Interviews with the leader of each of the five consortia.Site visits to selected schools in, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africaand Uganda.A workshop involving representatives from civil society organisations involvedin ICT in schools in Africa, selected CLPs, the private sector, and eAC todiscuss lessons learned and implications for the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative.Interviews with eAC staff involved in the leadership of the Demo project.More information about the monitoring and evaluation of the NEPAD e-Schools Demoproject can be found on the infoDev web site at

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportTable 1: Demo Implementation Status as of December 2006from the Country Liaison Person (CLP) reportsDemo implementation statusCountrySchools FullyCompletedSchools PartiallyComplete6(Expected to begin2007)Algeria6(consortia have madesite visits)Burkina 15(2 by second quarter of2007)6MozambiqueNigeria0Rwanda66(activity beginning at 3schools {insert date})SenegalSouth (expected Feb. 28/07)23(one by second quarter2007)

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Report

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Report0.EXECUTIVE SUMMARYBackgroundThe NEPAD e-Schools Initiative is a multi-country, multi-stakeholder, continental projectto teach ICT skills to young Africans in primary and secondary schools and improve theprovision of education in schools through the use of ICT applications and the Internet. Thefirst phase of the Initiative is a “Demonstration Project” (“Demo”) being implemented byNEPAD through the e-Africa Commission (eAC), in partnership with private sectororganisations. Six schools in each of 16 countries were selected to participate. TheCommonwealth of Learning, in partnership with infoDev, a multi-donor partnership housedat the World Bank, managed the monitoring and evaluation of the Demo project at therequest of the eAC.This public report is a synthesis of the lessons learned from the Demo Project to date, basedon a series of internal reports provided to the e-Africa Commission during the course of themonitoring and evaluation process.Summary CommentsThe purpose of the Demo is to inform the subsequent rollout of the broader NEPAD eSchools Initiative, and the monitoring and evaluation activity was intended as key tool inthis learning process. As such, the observations presented in this report are intended tohelp shape the decision making process of the broad range of stakeholders in the widerNEPAD e-Schools initiative going forward. They should not be interpreted as directcomment on the success or failure of the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative more generally, nornor on the success or failure of the activities of specific stakeholders. The NEPAD eSchools Initiative is an ambitious, even audacious, undertaking. The eAC, recognising thatlearning from experience is an iterative process, has sought to build in an M&E processfrom the very start of the initiative, beginning with this first Demo phase. It is important tonote that, as envisioned, the project is without precedent in terms of its international scope,socio-economic diversity and the comprehensiveness of the partnerships it comprises.While the expectations of the Demo phase may well have exceeded the practical bounds ofits reach within the expected initial timeframe, the long term vision, and the primaryobjectives of the initiative, continue to be of critical importance to development on thecontinent.1

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportProject ImplementationThe NEPAD e-Schools Demo Project is a very complex undertaking, given its range ofstakeholders and its international scope. The following points summarise the main issuesidentified during the monitoring and evaluation process: Implementation timelineThe implementation process has taken much longer than the one year initiallyexpected. The Demo was approved by the NEPAD e-Schools CoordinatingBody in February 2005 and the first school officially launched in Uganda inOctober 2005. The variances between and within the countries hascompromised both the achievement of the Demo objectives and the monitoringand evaluation (M&E) process. Project leadershipThe eAC’s ability to provide effective project management leadership has beenseriously constrained by a lack of both human and fiscal resources. The mostserious consequence of this has been the lack of effective communicationamong project partners. Project assumptionsMany of the assumptions about ICT use in education in Africa that underpinnedthe objectives of the Demo have proven to be invalid. A review of “bestpractices,” gleaned from similar projects in Africa and elsewhere, plus a betterunderstanding of current related projects in the target countries, would havebeen useful in the early planning stages of the project. Country preparednessNot all countries were equally prepared to take on a project of this nature, whichmeant that, for some, implementation has been delayed. Civil society inclusionThe failure to actively include civil society organisations that have experience inintroducing ICT in schools in Africa deprived the project of valuable supportand resources in its initial phases.Unanticipated Outcomes Government policiesThe Demo is having a major impact on governments in terms of their awareness ofthe importance of adopting ICT in their strategic educational plans. This may be thegreatest achievement to date in those countries that did not have an ICT ineducation policy already in place. Public/private partnershipsThe public/private partnership model initiated by the eAC has been replicated in a2

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Reportleast one country, Kenya, and is being considered in some others. Local partnersThe use of local partners is proving to have a major effect on the ease and efficacyin the implementation of the project and in providing support to teachers. Community impactThe impact of the Demo school in local communities has been much morecomprehensive than was anticipated. Teachers from neighbouring schools that haveno ICT facilities are being trained to use the Internet at the Demo school andcommunity groups are being encouraged, for a fee, to use the school as a “learningcentre” during non-school hours. Project reconceptualisationThe Demo appears to have triggered a process of “reconceptualisation” of theNEPAD e-Schools Initiative, not in terms of the end results that the Heads ofGovernments have articulated for the programme, but of the means through whichto achieve them.Lessons LearnedThe following comments are related to the coordination of a complex, multi-country, multistakeholder project implemented in close partnership with the private sector. These lessonsare culled from responses to policy questionnaires completed by Ministry of Educationofficials as part of the M&E process, interviews with the leaders of each of the consortia,and from interviews with the eAC staff involved in managing the Demo: Implementation supportImplementation and follow-up support have been more effective when localcompanies/organisations have been involved. Local support infrastructure mustbe developed and available to schools if the Demo schools are to continue afterthe Demo project period. LeadershipLeadership for complex projects with multiple stakeholders in multiplecountries such as this has significant resource requirements, which, if notprovided, can seriously compromise the project. The commitment of seniorleadership to the project is a major determinant of success. Supportmechanisms such as the NEPAD e-Schools Coordinating Body and NationalImplementing Teams, working with the CLPs, have been under-utilised in termsof supporting the eAC and the CLPs. Raising expectationsThe expectations that implementation of the Demo would occur within a fewmonths of it being announced in the participating counties, and, that a BusinessPlan would be developed to address sustainability and future rollout, were not3

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Reportmet, and explanations for the delays were not effectively communicated. Thedisappointment and cynicism that resulted in some of the participating countriesunderlines the oft-learned rule of project management: Communicate!Communicate! Communicate! ReadinessEducational systems need to be assessed – and re-assessed – for their“readiness” to facilitate interventions of this kind. The modelAn “e-school model” has to be flexible. Experience within the Demo projecthas shown that, even where general models are useful, they still need to beadapted to local context. As such there, are no clear ‘winners’ or ‘losers’ amongthe various ICT in schools models implemented by the consortia. PartnershipThe fear that other organisations would be in “competition” with the NEPADvision was misplaced. Civil society organisations with experience in introducingICTs in schools should have been welcomed into the partnership at thebeginning of the Demo. There should have been more exploration of other ICTin-schools initiatives going on in Africa. Happily, – albeit belatedly – this isnow beginning to happen. Assessing impactWhile it was possible to gain some assessment of the achievement of some ofthe short term school-based outcomes, the assessment of the long term impact ofICT use on the teaching/learning process and school management inparticipating schools requires longitudinal study design and a much moreempirical assessment model than was possible in the Demo M&E.Assessment of school-based outcomesData were collected before and after implementation of the project through questionnairescompleted by students, teachers and school heads, and through school observation visits.The following observations are derived from those data:4

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Report Impact on students and teachersWhile both students and teachers reported significant increases in their abilitiesto use basic computer programs, and in their confidence in using the machines,there was little evidence of integrated use of the technologies to enhancepedagogy across the curriculum. TechnologyTeachers and school heads were generally very pleased with the technologiesprovided, even though most experienced some problems with technical support. Educational software and contentTeachers and school heads were quite pleased with the training and learningsoftware supplied by the various consortia, and clearly stated that they wantmore of both! Many teachers expressed that they now realise they can producetheir own learning materials. Schools as ICT hubsMany of the schools are becoming an ICT resource for the larger community.5

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Report6

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public ReportGENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON THEIMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECT1.It is important to note that the purpose of a demonstration project is not just todemonstrate, but also to learn from the experience. The following observations gleanedfrom the monitoring and evaluations process for the NEPAD e-Schools Demo projectconstitute an important checklist for the future management and implementation of this andsimilar initiatives: Managing a public-private partnership of the magnitude of NEPAD eSchools is a very complex task.The Demo involves 16 national governments; five of the world’s largest ICTcorporations, partnered with numerous regional and national supportingcompanies; and a lead agency accountable to the heads of all nationalgovernments on the continent. All parties at the beginning of the Demounderestimated this complexity. The Country Liaison Persons (CLPs), theconsortia leaders and the eAC staff responsible for the Demo projectconsistently pointed out in their reports that the challenges of ensuring effectivecommunications, establishing a shared vision and expectations, and holdingpartners accountable for commitments made were immense and required a muchlonger time frame than was allowed to be addressed effectively. Providing leadership for such a complex project requires significant fiscaland human resources.The eAC was under-resourced for the project management tasks it took on. TheeAC was expected to raise the funding it needed to carry out its leadership role,placing it in more of a mendicant position rather than one of leadership. As aresult, there was criticism from some of the partners that the eAC was notfulfilling its responsibilities under the MOUs. Leading such a project requires superb project management expertise,extraordinary attention to facilitating communication between the partnersand clearly articulated objectives.The eAC took a non-directive approach to leading the implementation process.It deliberately did not provide any direction to the consortia about the e-schoolsolution to be provided, wanting instead to see what each consortium wouldprovide as their best model. Further, there were no stated expectations about theimplementation process other than that each consortium would sustain theproject for a year following implementation. The consortia thought that thislaissez-faire approach contributed to confusion about what was expected as wellas to very different implementation scheduling among the consortia. They7

The NEPAD e-Schools Demonstration Project: A Work in ProgressA Public Reportwould have appreciated a more directive approach from the eAC. The post-Demo roles of the e-Africa Commission and the project consortiahave evolved as the implementation process proceeded.At the outset, the eAC expected it would be in a position to manage the rolloutof the e-Schools Initiative in the post-Demo phases and, further, that the Demowould show which of the consortia provided the best e-schools model to selectfor widespread implementation. But as the Demo proceeded, it became obviousthat this one-size-fits-all model did not accommodate the national policies, plansand current initiatives of national governments, many of which already had ICTin-schools programmes underway. It also became evident that the corporateconsortia leaders, and many of their constituent members, would continue to beinvolved with African countries regardless of the NEPAD post-Demoinitiatives. While it is acceptable, and often advisable, for visions andexpectations to change during a demonstration project, the changes need to bediscussed and communicated. There were not effective communicationnetworks in place to do that. Inclusion needs to be a core principle in projects that have multiplepartners, each with their own raison d’être.The Demo implementation process did not initially encourage the involvementof the many civil society organisations that play an important role in introducingICTs in schools throughout Africa. According to the eAC staff managing theDemo, this was partly due to the belief that doing so would further complicatean already complex project. But it was also the result of not being initiallyaware of the extent that ICT activity in schools was already underway and theorganisations involved. Indeed, in several countries the Demo project is dwarfedby the scope of such activity and b

The Demo project is being implemented in six schools in each of 16 countries across Africa through partnerships that involve private sector consortia, the country government and . by Ms. Shafika Isaacs, a former Executive Director of SchoolNet Africa and now the Education Director at Mindse