Background on UTAMU Partnership with Centre for Evaluation (CEval)

UTAMU in partnership with the Centre for Evaluation (CEval) in Germany started running a Masters programme in Monitoring and Evaluation in September 2015. This programme addresses challenges faced by regional governments in implementing policies and interventions in both public and private sectors.

Evaluation as a profession and area of practice is composed of persons with varying interests. As an academic field of study, it is a multidisciplinary field and is claimed by several other disciplines. As a direct consequence of this multidisciplinary nature, there are several approaches used in its training across universities. However, a multidisciplinary and integrative approach is relevant within the context of the current challenges facing the field of evaluation.

Prof. Benon Basheka (extreme right) and Prof. Jude Lubega (second from right) together with officers at the Centre for Evaluation (CEval) in Germany.

Evaluation encompasses the evaluation of programs, products, personnel, policy, performance, proposals, technology, research, theory, and even of evaluation itself (American Evaluation Association, 2004). However, the number of ‘evaluands’ go beyond this list. Defined as the process of systematically gathering information for program improvement and decision making, evaluation is critical to every organization.

Today, there is demand for high quality evaluative evidence to inform decisions as well as a greater focus on outcomes and use of evidence to support decisions on interventions. The move to results-based approaches and the demands of New Public Management (NPM) have further increased the demand for evaluative evidence. There are both domestic pressures and international forces that have combined to increase on calls for evidence-based decision making. As a direct consequence, there are trends of institutionalization of monitoring and evaluation systems in all government MDAs and the development of National Policies and guidelines on Public Sector Monitoring and Evaluation. Despite these positive developments, most African countries still lack appropriate evaluation capacities not only in governmental institutions but also in non-governmental organisations and civil society.

With regard to governmental institutions there remains a significant deficit in the trained staff that can implement an M&E-system that fulfils international standards, commission and manage evaluations. Even where individual staffs capacities exist, gaps remain at group, organisational and societal level generally. The importance of evaluation demands capacity to be built at all these levels. This effort calls for a renewed approach in which educational courses in universities devoted to monitoring and evaluation are conceived, developed and implemented. Political decision-makers at both national and local levels still lack a clear understanding of the importance and usefulness of evaluation and this is partially due to the failure of existing programmes to marshal all stakeholders in the culture of evaluation through appropriate training and education.

Against this background, the Uganda Technology and Management University working together with the Centre for Evaluation (CEval) and under the direct support of the GIZ and government of Uganda found it necessary to merge the content for the Masters in Project Monitoring and Evaluation (formerly by UTAMU alone) and the Masters in Evaluation (by Centre for Evaluation basing on the study program of Saarland University UdS and the University of Applied Sciences HTW in Germany). This decision was arrived at after the pilot of two modules of the Masters in Evaluation under the blended mode of delivery. It was found necessary to build synergies for building evaluation capacity rather than pursuing two separate programmes targeting the same audience. Having successfully piloted two modules of the Masters in Evaluation offered by Centre for Evaluation in close collaboration with UTAMU and directly supported by the GIZ and technical online support further beefed by INCASS, the conclusion to merge the Masters in Evaluation with the Masters in Project Monitoring and Evaluation already offered by UTAMU resulted into a new program-Masters in Monitoring and Evaluation.

Under the blended learning approach, the merged program saw the retention of all courses already offered by UTAMU and only inclusion of additional modules on the Masters in Evaluation. The courses offered were grouped into three areas namely (1) core foundational evaluation courses, (2) compulsory methodology evaluation courses and (3) interdisciplinary knowledge evaluation courses as shall be explained in the curriculum matrix.

The overall goal of the Master of Monitoring and Evaluation Program is to strengthen the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of interventions by governments, civil society and non-government organizations as well as development partners in Sub-Saharan Africa through the development and enhancement of capacity for evaluation. The Program is also intended to develop a long-term strategy to create training opportunities for graduates at higher levels of the education system. While existing programs have tended to focus on in-country context, the Masters in monitoring and evaluation is global and gives generally accepted knowledge and skills across different countries. With its focus on a wider African context, the knowledge, skills and competencies imparted in the revised master’s degree can be applied anywhere in the world. The program adopts a multi-disciplinary approach and orientation throughout the content delivery and assessment.

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