In the fall 2012, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research ordered a midterm evaluation of three measures from the “Lifelong Learning” priority axis of Operational Programme for Human Resource Development. These measures were:
- “Development of the Quality of Youth Work”
- “Development of an Information and Counselling System”
- “Reducing Dropout Rates in Schools, Improving Access to Education and Quality of Education”
Within these three main measures, seven sub-measures were evaluated. The evaluation addressed issues of relevance, coherence, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability; also, recommendations were expected of the evaluators.
The target group of the measures includes various institutions and experts in the fields of education, youth work, and career services: Estonian teachers, support service organizers and experts providing these services, compilers of learning materials, institutions offering basic and in-service training for teachers, specialists of youth work and career services. The beneficiaries include students, parents, young people between the age 7-26, and more widely, the whole society.
Although the study finds that in overall, the coherence across the measures is good and coherence has been an important concern in developing the measures, there are some issues that need closer attention:
- Greater attention should be paid to the development of intervention logic in the future, focusing specifically on comprehensive documentation of the problems the measures are intending to address.
- More attention should also be given to developing appropriate indicators in the future so that they enable a more comprehensive overview of the state of programme implementation.
- In several cases, quite many activities have been focused on the provision of services the discontinuation of which, if no alternative funding sources are found, would jeopardize the development of some policy areas. Therefore, the importance of sustainability should not be overlooked and should be paid extra attention during the next programming period.