Client: Sindh Education Foundation, Ministry of education, Government of Sindh, Pakistan
S Sindh Education Foundation or famously known as SEF is formed to provide education in Sindh province through direct intervention and Public Private Partnership model. Currently, SEF controls 2314 Schools and managing 555,000 pupils in the Sindh province of south Pakistan.
SEF was formed in 1994 with an ideology to promise on the Fundamentals of Access and Quality. The Foundation Seeks To Expand Access To Quality Education In The Backdrop Of A Sectoral Landscape That Features Dysfunctional Government Schools, And Private Schools That Are Either Expensive Or Deliver Poor Quality Services.
The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) unit – Sindh Education Foundation conducts rigorous Process Monitoring and collects information on several key development indicators through field visits and submits report containing its observations, findings and recommendations to the Managing Director, Sindh Education Foundation, donors, Chief Minister and other stakeholders. The quality, reliability and accuracy of information of monitoring reports were always questioned and it took several months to collect the data from all districts.
The quality of monitoring reports produced by M&E unit needed to be improved through Information and Technology interventions so that all the stakeholders have trust and confidence in the performance of program teams, M&E team and other operational teams.
The SEF team envisioned an online accessibility and usability of an Android based monitoring tool/application; that could capture the location (GPS coordinates) and Physical verification (by capturing pictures) of the monitored schools. Real time tracking of monitors as an evidence of their physical visits to enhance validity of monitoring reports;
Obtaining Feedback from “beneficiaries” and/or “stakeholders” of SEF Supported Schools.
The key objective of the dashboard would to integrate the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) onto a single platform, which would involve integration with SEF’s existing database EMIS. The dashboard would provide easy access and use of real time integrated financial and physical information to the decision makers on the implementation progress of projects.
More specifically, the common performance indicators and milestones would be developed by the consultant firm which would also impart necessary training to the officials of Sindh Education Foundation for entering information against the common performance indicators and specific milestones of the projects.
Keeping an important factor in mind that the officers visit to the most under-privileged areas of Sindh Province where, electricity and internet connectivity is hardly available. The challenge was to get these areas connected to the real-time reporting of monitoring and evaluation process and have all this information available through interactive dashboards available to all regional offices and head office. The dashboard would give a holistic picture of the project progress and problematic areas of the project.
SEF under World Bank loan procured Verge Systems through Sindh Public Procurement Rules. Verge topped in the technical evaluation and cost effective parameters. The core objective of this activity was to Support Sind Education Foundation in development of an android application along with Dashboard for monitoring and evaluation of educational development portfolio of SEF Supported Schools.
Verge Systems through a rigorous competitive bidding process successfully won the award of contract. It took Procurement Agency (PA) eight months to scrutinize and finalize the most competent company from the pool of multiple international companies interested to do the assignment.
The activity included to envisage, design, develop, train and deploy an interactive dashboard. The Dashboard would include a complete end-to-end solution that would receive the data, have strong algorithm that would mine the data coming into millions of transactions. And present the data into graphical, tabular and infographic formats that would give a holistic, detailed and drilled down information of all the indicators and would generate signals for unforeseen circumstances.
Verge Systems deployed the diverse team of experienced and young software engineers, creative designers, database engineers, network administrators and project management specialists. The team was initially deployed to understand the current structure of the data flow and possibilities of the proposed solutions. The project team and the country chapter team travelled to a third country for four days to discuss the current structure and analysis of their complete requirements.
The closed-door meeting helped the project team and the client to be on the same page and have clear expectations of what to come next. A complete project plan was designed and agreed with each task with estimated timeline.
The Project kicked started with a rigors study of the of Monitoring and Evaluation practices of M&E Team and it’s reporting to Managing Director and other stake holders. A workshop was held under the supervision of Deputy Director, SEF. The workshop was attended by the representatives of Planning, Programs, PSDU, IT and other top management of SEF and Project Team of Verge systems. Based on the meetings and workshop, the project team of Verge Systems designed a prototype and got approval. Keeping the complex process in mind the project team decided to use Agile Method of Software Development so that any changes requested by the client could be easily developed. Another, key factor that was considered at the time of Requirement Analysis was to develop a dynamic forms designer to meet future requirements of SEF.
The software has enabled users to quickly switch into different tasks eg, designing an activity, creating a tool, inserting a new indicator, generating a chart or preparing a report for higher management. The software is majorly dynamic, using Object Oriented Programming which would let future programmers to modify and upgrade the software as per requirements. The Android Application can take unlimited tools, implementing all conditional indicators and options.
Some of the most advanced features have also been implemented which helps let the reporting manager, has a comprehensive glance over the activity. He/she can view what is happening and where is happening. The users of the dashboards can also directly communicate to the Deputy Director monitoring and Evaluation Unit to submit any query or suggestions. Users can extract micro reports by using different filters available in the dashboard as well as in the reports module. Reports can be directly emailed to targeted recipient or can be saved in PC for future reference.