A Mid-Term Evaluation of the INSPIRE project (2015-2018) found that it is on track to meet its goals and there is evidence that key aims and objectives are being achieved.
The overall aims of the INSPIRE project are to improve the performance of Malawian schools and the impact of the Malawian Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) and District Education Offices (DEO) on school performance, by improving integrated planning, multi-stakeholder accountability and the provision of effective support.
The Mid-Term Evaluation findings suggest that significant progress has been made in the establishment of an integrated system of school planning from school to district and national levels. For example, at school level, following the intervention, 85% of (head)teachers strongly agreed that their school has an effective improvement plan, compared to just 23% before the intervention.
Multi-stakeholder accountability is built in at each level of the process. There is a strong sense from community members that parents are taking a more informed and active role in the school. 75% of (head)teachers and 86% of community members strongly agreed that the local community is effectively involved in school management after the intervention, compared to 23% and 25% respectively before the intervention, and just 16% of the control group.
There is evidence that a consolidated system of monitoring and support for schools has been established. Both (head)teachers and community members see a significant improvement in the quality of school management as a result of the intervention, with 85% of community members and 76% of (head)teachers strongly agreeing that the quality of school management is good, compared to 14% and 18% before the intervention, and 16% of the control group.
There is also evidence for a range of significant wider benefits being experienced by participant schools as a result of the application of National Education Standards and the enhanced advisory support (including governance, teaching practice, community engagement and learner performance). This is a very encouraging result given the relatively early phase in implementation of the INSPIRE model. These benefits remain to be confirmed in the official education statistics, but there was consistent support for this view across a range of stakeholders within Mchinji. All community members and 95% of teachers felt that learners had benefitted from the project in the last year. Improved academic performance was noted by a large number of teachers and parents. Although non-participant schools were not included in the Mid-Term Evaluation, it is likely that they also experienced some benefits as the District Education Manager took the initiative to deliver some project activities across all schools in the district.