IPE Triple Line is evaluating DFID’s Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR). SPHEIR is DFID’s flagship intervention in higher education, supporting ambitious and high-value partnerships between institutions, NGOs and private sector organisations to transform the quality, relevance, inclusiveness and value of Higher Education (HE) in 11 countries of Africa, the Middle East and Asia (Myanmar).
For the mid-term evaluation, we were due to undertake ten country visits for data collection from employers, implementing partners (primarily universities), lecturers and students through interviews and focus groups discussions. Now, we are shifting to interview over remote channels rather than in person. However, we have concluded that this is not possible for focus group discussions. We have therefore, designed a tool for students and lecturers to provide brief reflections against four topics including their learning experiences, change in teaching practices and the impact of COVID-19. For students, these can be submitted in any format: written, voice recording, film or photographic. The intention is to gain qualitative insights from individual perspectives. We are currently exploring with lead partners some of the logistics and how best to overcome inherent challenges, including distribution and how to generate and incentivise an adequate response rate.
As an evaluation manager, we are reviewing SPHEIR in order to get a better understanding of what design aspects make HE interventions successful and to improve the knowledge on the longer-term impacts of HE strengthening. This includes three principal strands:
- Conducting formative evaluation
- Conducting two summative evaluations: one mid-term evaluation and one final theory based impact evaluation; and
- Linking primary and secondary research projects, including carrying out two Rapid Evidence Assessments or similar rigorous literature reviews.