SEF’s Units, as the name suggests, are responsible to provide technical support to programs in different areas. There are 05 Units, i.e. (i) Research and Publication Unit (RPU) , (ii) Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit, (iii) Assessment Unit (AU), (iv) Learning Support Unit (LSU), and (v) Advocacy and Communication Unit (ACU).
Ingrained in specialty, the units provide domain-specific support to the program teams to ensure quality outcomes across SEF interventions. While organizing trainings for teachers and capacity building of partners SEF seeks results and impact of these training through assessment results and findings of research studies. The training of teachers in all SEF strives to ensure that SEF supported schools get better human resource; whereas, research activities are conducted from time to time and presented to manager to work out ways to further improve programs’ performance and productivity.
Research has been considered a core function of SEF that aims not only to strengthen the programmatic activities but also enhance the Foundation’s role as an advocate of meaningful educational policy reforms. With this goal, research activities have been conducted under various titles such as EDRC, Research and Monitoring Unit since 1998. Aligned with idea of strong role of research in educational development, Foundation introduced an independent unit entitled ‘Research Unit’ in the year 2014 that functions under the Director-Technical Units.
To enhance research culture, build research networks, disseminate the knowledge, inform Foundation to increase the potential impact of research and formulate policies.
- Develop a research culture to create awareness and understanding of research.
- Contribute in province’s knowledge-base through research and development initiatives.
- Formulate policies and procedures to increase the potential impact of systematic dissemination of research work to wider audience.
- Build research networks.
- Broaden the participation of organization's workforce in research activities.
- Introduce in-house capacity building opportunities
Key research areas
- Student learning outcomes
- School and system improvement
- Teacher development
- Community development
- Early Childhood Education
- Classroom pedagogies
- organizational development
- gender in education
- child rights
- Leadership management
- Curriculum studies
- Education technologies
- Educational policies
- Public private partnership
Strategies and tools
Researches on programs are often conducted by using model structure of research. The model starts with a broad spectrum, focusing on the required information through the method of the project, and then expands the research in the form of discussion and results. The major steps in conducting research are:
- Identification of research problem
- Specifying the purpose of research
- Determine specific research questions
- Specification of a conceptual framework - Usually a set of hypotheses
- Choice of a methodology (for data collection)
- Data collection
- Analyzing and interpreting the data
- Reporting and evaluating research
- Communicating the research findings and recommendations
Impact and outcome
Recommendations of research reports are utilized for:
- Foundation’s own decision making mechanism
- Improving practices
Research studies conducted
- Introducing Oxford University Press Textbooks in Low-cost Private Rural Schools: Experience of Sindh Education Foundation.
- Who are they? Understanding the nature of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in PPRS Schools
- Student Absenteeism in Rural Schools in Sindh
The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) plays an instrumental role in bringing planned outcomes and impacts of the Foundation’s interventions. Both processes track progress, assess efficiency and effectiveness, create accountability; build transparency through systematic and impartial data collection. Moreover, it supports to program is as much as that of skeleton to human body. M&E Unit at SEF has been rendering its unbiased services to make things happen as they had been planned once. This Unit has undertaken annual monitoring, base-line surveys and verification of various data sets, processes monitoring, and above all, has had a pivotal role to make truth known to the senior management of the Foundation.
Furthermore, significant reduction has been witnessed in fake enrollment by virtue of input contributed through consequent findings/trend analysis and recommendations. Besides this, unit had scrutinized, validated and verified given information of potential locations for awarding new schools on the lines of meritocracy. Unit has put lid on ghost schooling by unwavering vigilance and report schools level compliance indicators status, which facilitate senior management and program teams to make better choices through timely planning and execution, top of all, it timely suggests whether program has achieved its objectives or what means to be adopted to get program achieve its desired impacts.
- To assess the key inputs, activities and performance of the programs in term of access, efficiency and adequacy.
- To monitor process, compliance and progress of SEF programs/projects to identify potential problems and to improve program/project design.
- To conduct base line surveys for collecting primary and secondary data to initiate program/project activities.
- To verify and validate different data sets of programs for identifying loop holes and overall improvement in data collection, techniques and data accuracy.
- To evaluate the performance of SEF programs/projects and influence assistance strategy for the planning of future projects.
- To generate strategic information for decision making in order to constantly improve the Foundation response to quality education.
- Monitoring Exercises. (Each program school monitoring on yearly basis)
- Process Monitoring. (Selected process/activities of various programs)
- Data Validation. (Selected data set validation of various programs)
- Term Evaluations. (Mostly through outsource)
- Baseline Surveys. (At the initiation of every program/project)
- Feasibility Studies. (At the initiation or for the expansion of programs/projects)
- Verification Surveys. (To validate and verify information for awarding new schools on prescribed criteria)
- Re-Verification Surveys. (To re-verify data set received from third party research firms for awarding new schools)
- Technical Facilitation/Support. (Offers technical support to Programs and Units as per requirement)
- Team Capacity Building. (Internal and external training opportunities to whole team and exposure visits)
- Review, Planning and Sharing Meetings. (Quarterly, bi-annual, annual and need based internal Unit and external meetings)
- M&E contributes to improved organization,
- M&E is developmentally-oriented,
- Service delivery and performance.
- Human resource management.
- M&E undertake ethically and with integrity,
- Fair reporting.
- M&E is methodologically sound,
- Consistent indicators.
- M&E is operationally effective,
The assessment and that of a good high quality is imperative for the success of the goals set by the Government of Pakistan for Educational Reforms. Keeping this view of having good quality assessment, the Sindh Education Foundation, Govt. of Sindh has setup its very own Assessment Unit to assess the students’ learning outcomes of its partner schools.
The major role of the Assessment Unit of SEF is to assess the students of all the schools working under its supervision and guidance. The Assessment Unit works dynamically from designing to the execution and conducts quality examinations both in English and Sindhi based on the National Curriculum given by the Ministry of Education (MoE).
Strategies & Tools
The Assessment Unit works with its team of subject experts placed at the head as well as at regional offices to develop high quality assessment tools to encourage active learning. The paper designing is a tailor made process in which distinct attention is given, keeping in the view the programmatic and stake holder’s objectives. Good quality examination papers are constructed using the modern assessment tools based on active learning rather on rote memorization. The examination material is designed to test the set skills and competencies of various age groups and grades through balanced structure of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and short response questions.
Impact & Outcomes
The well designed papers based on analytical thinking invite students and teachers to think out of the box rather than confinement till text books. The entire teaching and learning process takes a 360b degree turn as teachers also prepare their lesson plans in a way that their students can attempt the papers which are developed on the knowledge, comprehension & Analytical base.
The Assessment results helps the program in order to plan their future strategies in terms of enrichment of teacher training, teaching and learning environment and other remedial decision for the betterment of the school. Specific teacher training modules are designed for the effective learning. Not only students are the beneficiaries of Assessment mechanism, rather it is used as the performance parameter for the teachers as well.
Over the period of 04 years, Assessment Unit managed to assess almost all the programs working under the umbrella of the Foundation that included:
PPRS 25000 Students (per cycle 10 Districts)
RBCS 20000 Students (10 Districts)
CLEP 350 students (Karachi)
WLEP 350 students (Karachi & Sehwan)
AASP 10,000 13 Districts
ELP 4000 Students 5 Districts
Advocacy and Communication Unit (ACU) promotes SEF’s endeavours and initiatives through advocacy seminars, workshops and policy dialogues at regional and provincial level. A diverse range of publications and resources, both educational and institutional, are also developed in-house to support enrichment of the learning environment in schools.
Advocacy and promotion of SEF’s activities and interventions to support the cause of free education for all in Sindh
- organize advocacy events to promote SEF’s philosophy behind its interventions and activities
- garner acknowledgment and recognition – and seek suggestions for improvement – of public-private partnership schemes through debates, dialogues and consultation sessions
- create national and international linkages between SEF and other organizations to enhance advocacy initiatives
- provide essential information relating to education to help persuade policy and decision makers in Sindh
- produce material that helps enhance the knowledgebase on matters related to education and development besides promoting SEF’s achievements
- tailor communication efforts with local sensibility and wisdom for maximum effectiveness at grassroots level
- PEvents, Seminars, Workshops: Aim to increase awareness on education through road shows, mobile library and street plays and celebration of international day
- Media Engagement
- Print and Electronic Media: Present SEF’s official version of events and intimations about new developments through press releases and other informed articles
- PPolicy Papers and Publications: Engage in extensive research and produce actionable policy papers on educational issues
- Radio: Motivating social change through writing and producing radio programs.
- New Media
- Website: Update website regularly to provide latest statistics and information of activities.
- Social Media: Utilizing social media (Facebook and Twitter) to maximize awareness of SEF’s initiatives, and engage with different stakeholders
- Key Activities
- Publications: Sujaag, Collective, Seek and Spotlight
- Capacity Building Sessions: Discourse Sessions, Workshops and Training Activities
- Advocacy Events:Celebration of International Day, Educational Events, and Seminars
Learning Support Unit (LSU), one of the integral units of the SEF, plays a vital role in the execution of trainings for teachers of SEF-supported schools. The core responsibilities of the unit include from manual/resource development to on-field teacher trainings as well as participating, collaborating and representing the unit in general and SEF in particular at different educational platforms. More importantly to sum up in a nut shell the unit’s programmatic work depicts:
- Works as the academic Unit of Sindh Education Foundation
- Hub of learning and capacity building activities
- Rich educational experience in working at the grass roots and with the teachers
Following are considered to be the likely objectives for which the unit strives to achieve as a team in the most effective and efficient manners
- To develop need based and contextualized teaching and learning aids/resources
- To provide field based academic support to SEF schools
- To build the professional capacities of SEF school teachers and stake holders
- To review the educational literature with respect to content enhancement and curriculum enrichment
The following are considered as the methodologies/practices involved in the professional development trainings for the teachers of SEF under different programs;
- Reflective practices rather than imposing our own ideas
- Welcoming prior knowledge in building further and new capacities
- Implementation the cascading method of involving teachers in the teaching-learning process which they will adopt in their classrooms
- Sharing different exposures of teachers and their success stories
- a) Resource Development
- Making teaching and learning process a more interactive, interesting & exploratory
- Converting content into a more understandable form to make it easily digestible
- Involving teachers and children in self-learning process rather than directed process
- Developing an overall environment conducive for learning
- b) Manual Development
- A repository of modules in Sindhi language
- Modules which function as a Guide for the teachers’ reference
- Balanced content: text & illustrations, to make them more readable and self-explanatory
- A rich bank of specialized classroom activities
- Compilation of ‘Guidelines’ for the Management of Schools
- c) Field Based Support for SEF Schools
- Providing classroom level support to teachers
- Assisting teachers in overcoming contextual challenges of teaching-learning process
- Mentoring teachers for self-improvement
- d) Academic Administration at LSU
LSU admin performs diverse tasks in the implementation of the trainings in line with the requirement of the unit which involves;
- Coordinate with Administration Unit (HO), Finance, Procurement, HR, IT for day-to-day and activity based (mock, trainings, FSV) tasks
- Vehicle requests, arrangements at venues etc.
- Facilitate in preparation and submission of Advance Requisitions (ARs), Statement of Expenditures (SoEs)
- Facilitate SEF Program teams in preparation of Activity Budgets (Mock, Trainings, FSV)
- Provide input for admin related tasks in Concept Note preparation
- Maintain records of correspondence (both internal and external) e.g. Memos, Letters, Office orders etc.
- Facilitate SEF Finance & Admin in Audits
- e) Academic Data Management
With such a huge number of training and development activities there is a large inflow of data. For this reason the new data bank segment of the LSU is responsible for:
- Developing qualitative and quantitative reports (including consolidated reports for trainings and academic activities, Quarterly progress reports)
- Training Analysis
- Activity Presentation
- Managing teachers’ data
- Updating the training grid
- Coordination with Karachi & Regional teams
- Sorting and organizing of data (Files and soft record for teacher profiles, attendance record, pre & posttest papers) as a part of post activity training procedure