Background: From 2007 to 2013, the European Union injected €14 million into working with the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) to set a policy framework focused on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The TVET Reform Project (TVET-R), funded by the EU and executed by the ILO in partnership with GoB agencies, focused on reducing mismatches between knowledge and skills of TVET graduates and the demands of labour markets. TVET-R aimed to introduce new approaches of competency-based training and assessment, structured apprenticeships and recognition of prior learning, and quality vocational training, to help create pathways to ‘decent work for all’.
In 2014 Sustineo was engaged to evaluate the program’s achievements and outcomes. It examined the extent to which TVET-R partners in Bangladesh, tripartite constituents, local communities, and trainees benefited, and will continue to benefit, from TVET-R’s outputs, strategy, and implementation arrangements. It also highlighted positive outcomes and strengths, areas for improvement, and made recommendations for sustainability, lessons learned, and good practice.
Approach: Sustineo’s evaluation design drew on a broad range of data to ensure a comprehensive assessment of the Project. A critical desktop literature review was carried out, and a comparison of data was made against Project objectives. This included review of relevant policies, implementation guidelines, progress and monitoring reports, promotional materials, videos, brochures, handbooks, and relevant academic and research materials.
During the field trip to Bangladesh, our team met with 38 separate departments, organizations, and training institutes. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 58 individuals, including teachers, trainees, and other informants. A final evaluation workshop was also conducted to present preliminary findings at the end of the visit, which 31 Project partners attended.
This data was triangulated and cross-checked against each indicator and objective of the key project components of TVET-R. Through triangulation, the evaluators examined TVET-R’s relevance, coherence, efficiency, effectiveness, and potential sustainability. The Evaluators ensured that gender considerations were also explicitly addressed.
Outcome: The final evaluation identified that the TVET-R has been a highly ambitious and successful project, consolidating ILO’s reputation as the leader in TVET Reform in Bangladesh. The final report captured specific actions taken within the Project and highlighted that it has achieved its stated objectives and has managed to do so within budget. In addition, Sustineo highlighted that while there have been many complex challenges to completing the Project, there are practical steps which can be taken to rectify these issues. Specifically, through the identification of a broad range of lessons learned, the Sustineo team identified a number of pathways available for future program improvement. The summary report is publicly available here.
Difference: Sustineo’s approach to building trust and enduring relationships during the evaluation process made a significant difference to the level of engagement and input of all Project partners. This resulted in a more comprehensive set of data and information during the assessment of project performance. Sustineo designed an evaluation approach focused on genuine participation with all stakeholders across several locations in Bangladesh. This included Government partners, technical trainers, project staff, industry partner representatives, and students. The Sustineo team worked with project staff to ensure preliminary findings were rigorously tested in a participatory workshop, prior to finalising the evaluation report. Close engagement with project partners ensured a final evaluation which exactly matched the needs of the ILO and identified strategies for the future direction of programming in the TVET sector in Bangladesh.