A U.S.-funded education project carried out in predominantly Muslim regions of The Philippines is about to undergo a review of its effectiveness, following the conclusion of the latest five-year segment of the $90 million endeavor.
This review -- in addition to a bevy of other new or follow-up programs now seeking private contractor assistance in that nation -- comes at a time when President Obama has declared the Pacific Region as a new "top U.S. priority."
The initiative, known as the Education Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills (EQuALLS) Project, had begun in 2004 under the Bush Administration, which awarded a five-year, $30.1 million cooperative agreement to carry it out primarily in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The U.S. Agency for International devleopment (USAID) in 2006 issued a new 5-year, $59.3 million cooperative agreement to Education Development Center, Inc., to implement Phase II of the plan.
USAID today issued a draft statement of work for the proposed assessment (Solicitation #SOL-492-12-000001) and is seeking comments and suggestions from interested parties.
The goal of the evaluation is to:
assess the impact of USAID’s investment in EQuALLS 2’s intended beneficiaries at the national, regional and local community levels, and assess the performance of EQuALLS 2 in achieving its objectives of improving quality and access to basic education in areas most affected by poverty and conflict in the Philippines, specifically the ARMM and Regions 9 and 12 in Mindanao, and of providing alternative learning opportunities, including livelihood training, to out-of-school youth in these regions.
The evaluation will also look at the effectiveness of its three intermediate results -- increased learning opportunities, improved teaching in math, science, and English, and greater relevance of education and training for out-of-school children and youth… If any stated results were not achieved, the contractor shall identify probable impediments…
It appears that the Obama Administration is looking to keep the momentum going for the EQuALLS Project or a successor educational initiative in The Philippines, as the SOW emphasizes that the evaluation "will inform the USAID/Philippines Country Development Strategy (CDCS) for FY 2011-2016 and will guide the design and development of future education programs."