Step 8

Implementation Strategy

To define implementation arrangements for the plan in line with the intervention strategy, the investment plan, and the country’s institutional and legal framework.  

Normal Condition

At the end of this step, the team should be able to do the following:
a) Define institutional arrangements and legal framework for implementation
b) Define prioritization criteria and kickoff activities
c) Establish a management information platform
d) Define a monitoring and evaluation system

Module Activity Output
8.1. Implementation framework 8.1.1. Identify specific roles for government agencies and stakeholder capacity-building needs 8.1.1. Identify specific roles for government agencies and stakeholder capacity-building needs
8.1.2. Define the legal framework for implementation  8.1.2. Define the legal framework for implementation
8.2. Initiation activities 8.2.1. Define prioritization criteria 8.2.1. Define prioritization criteria
8.2.2. Set up implementation units and procedures 8.2.2. Set up implementation units and procedures
8.2.3. Define the investment and procurement mechanisms for implementation 8.2.3. Define the investment and procurement mechanisms for implementation
8.2.4. Establish an information management platform  8.2.4. Establish an information management platform 
8.2.5. Establish a communication strategy  8.2.5. Establish a communication strategy 
8.3. Monitoring and evaluation  8.3.1. Define a monitoring system and procedures 8.3.1. Define a monitoring system and procedures
8.3.2. Evaluate needs for project adjustments  8.3.2. Evaluate needs for project adjustments 

 

Local partners and technical expertise

The table below presents a list of suggested local partners and technical expertise required to contribute to or lead the activities of this step.

Key agencies

  • Ministry of Education: decision makers
  • Ministry of Education: infrastructure manager and planning office

 Contributing agencies

  • Ministry of Planning and Development (if any)
  • Ministry of Finance

Technical Expertise

  • Senior structural engineer (usually external advisor) 
  • Senior disaster risk management specialist (usually external advisor)
  • Ministry of Education: senior engineers, education, procurement and communication specialists, legal advisors, and specialists with knowledge of the public investment system
  • GIS specialist
  • Information management specialist in charge of EMIS (if available)

 

Module: 8.1 Implementation framework

Through this module, task teams will define the institutional arrangement and legal basis for the implementation phase.

 

Activity 8.1.1. Identify specific roles for government agencies and stakeholder capacity-building needs

The aim of this activity is to review the specific roles and responsibilities of government agencies (national and local) in advancing the implementation strategy of the plan and identifying any ways in which they need to be strengthened. Under the proposed institutional framework (activity 6.1.3), the roles within the ministry of education and other relevant agencies can range from general coordination and monitoring of the plan’s implementation (for example, from the sector level) to overseeing actual interventions at each school facility (from the subnational level). These need to be mapped to identify any gaps in key roles, and their remediation proposed as part of the strategy. 

Guidance:

A workflow chart or diagram is useful for mapping the different levels of government, their roles, and their interactions in this process. Tracking the sequence of the project cycle in line with the proposed interventions, for example, will help with mapping the involved agencies and identifying their competencies and coordination needs, along with any gaps in the process. 

Task teams must define in advance the capacity expected to be required at each level (human resources, IT, equipment, and so on) and compare this with current conditions. The results of this analysis will help determine areas in need of strengthening and capacity building. In our experience, strengthening school infrastructure management is often a challenge for governments with low institutional capacity or limited experience in infrastructure planning. This means the pace of implementation at the beginning of the plan should be based on the existing capacity, but the plan should include an objective related to building this strength over time. Task teams may need at this point to finetune the intervention strategy and investment plan accordingly. We stress the importance of this activity to avoid any major issues and bottlenecks during implementation.  

The Plan, which will operate within the education sector’s existing institutional structure, may require making adjustments or reforms. Overall, the RSRS proposes an infrastructure management approach grounded in a careful diagnosis and planning process. As the implementation of this approach is in itself a change in many developing countries, adjustments or reforms will likely be needed in the education sector and other key relevant agencies. In some cases, for example, governments will need to create dedicated offices to lead the process or transfer functions to other institutions or levels of government. Any reform undertaken as part of this process should be led by a high-level decision maker to ensure adequate political support to move the changes through the approval process. 

This activity is politically sensitive. The plan promotes a change in the planning, implementation, and management of school infrastructure to contribute to the improvement of learning environments. Managing school infrastructure in the twenty-first century requires changes to policies, institutional structure, and construction practices, among other areas, which may affect entrenched interests.

Furthermore, informality—another key factor—will need to be changed over time, given its deep roots in social and cultural practices. Hence, the changes stemming from the plan’s adoption should be communicated and disseminated to key stakeholders, including government, the school community, and civil society. Making available key information about the plan (see module 8.2) will be important in starting to promote a culture of change and accountability in what is often a politically driven environment. 

Increasing the capacity of key stakeholders is a medium-term effort. Task teams should define a realistic capacity-building strategy (including financial resources to implement it) and convene existing key players in the country (for example, universities) and international partners to contribute toward this aim. Based on our experience, developing capacity to manage school infrastructure at subnational levels, such as at the local government level, remains a largely unmet challenge in developing countries.

In post-disaster conditions, these definitions and decisions are even more essential to address the needs of the affected area and accelerate the reconstruction process. Given the priority to advance reconstruction, extensive sector reforms are unlikely to be pushed over the course of planning it. The purpose of this activity is to stipulate the roles of the key institutional players needed to operate reconstruction investments in an efficient and timely fashion. Any important gaps in roles and responsibilities should, however, be identified and mapped for action at a later time.

 

Activity 8.1.2. Define the legal framework for implementation

The purpose of this activity is to define the legal basis for the plan’s adoption and implementation. Working with the education sector’s legal team, task teams are to review the plan thoroughly to identify the legal instruments and processes that can be used for its formal adoption and make sure the legal mechanisms are in place to move forward on implementation. The adoption of the plan through a formal and binding legal instrument can help ensure continuity and support for the implementation phase and allocation of public resources. 

Guidance:

The sector’s legal team needs to be kept updated throughout the implementation of the RSRS to anticipate any changes that may be required for the plan and to participate when needed. In countries with a planning investment system in place, this can be a straightforward process, as these steps have already been mapped out. For countries with no experience in this area, however, this will be more challenging. The wide array of issues with legal implications that need to be reviewed include land property rights (with respect to school campuses), land use regulation, adjustments to planning and building regulations, and procurement and purchasing provisions, among others. 

For any policy reforms that go beyond the sector, the discussions will involve a broader group of stakeholders to reach consensus and move forward the proposed changes. Modifications to the building code, for example, may be needed to enable vulnerability reduction measures in school buildings. In some countries, this will require the participation of the technical commission in charge of reviewing this code, the ministry of education’s entity in charge of school infrastructure, and the ministry of public works, among others. The same applies to other areas, such as land use, which requires the participation of planning offices that manage cadaster information. Although they go beyond the formulation of the plan, it is essential for task teams to identify any such needs for reform and include them in the implementation strategy.

The implementation framework for the reconstruction plan is usually not complex, as governments can use exceptional legal provisions for emergency situations. A government can fast-track the relevant legal decrees or resolutions or even create a new reconstruction agency. The reconstruction plans in the education sector fall into the broader reconstruction legal framework. In that respect, task teams should identify in a timely manner the need of sector’s special provisions (if any) for the implementation framework and coordinate with the central government.  

 

Module 8.2. Initiation activities

Activities under this module focus on identifying kickoff activities that will enable infrastructure managers to begin the implementation phase.

 

Activity 8.2.1. Define prioritization criteria

This activity focuses on prioritizing interventions, which is essential to implementation of the plan. Investments in school infrastructure tend to be driven by local demands and influenced by the political environment. The RSRS advocates the use of prioritization criteria, a quantitative and evidence-based approach that is in line with government and sector policy priorities and maximizes benefits for the most children. The set of criteria can be risk-based and cost-efficient and may also include social equity (see below). This approach allows task teams to prioritize investments in a transparent, measurable way and makes possible monitoring and evaluation of progress and results. The definition of prioritization criteria is also at the core of implementing solutions at scale and at the heart of modernizing how school infrastructure is managed. 

Guidance:

The team formulating the plan must fully understand the rationale behind the intervention strategy and the need for quantitative metrics to measure and track progress. The maximization of benefits is not only based on the use of quantitative analysis; it also includes the application of engineering solutions that can be implemented and scaled up. This combination allows the cost-efficiency ratio of the investments to be maximized. 

Risk-based criteria quantify the safety benefits before and after interventions. The safety benefits for each proposed intervention option are estimated using quantitative risk assessment methods (see step 5). Risk integration implicitly raises hazard, vulnerability and exposure considerations. Although they contain sources of uncertainty, these estimates provide an adequate metric in relative terms for a comparative analysis within the school building portfolio. 

Cost efficiency criteria refer to the number of students benefitting from a given investment. A per capita cost is used as a metric to compare the monetary investments for each of the intervention options. For two school buildings with the same intervention and investment needs, for example, the ratio of benefit to cost will depend on the number of students in each building. The more students who benefit, the higher the benefit-cost ratio. 

Social equity criteria refer to reducing inequality by helping prioritize investments for the most disadvantaged. Existing quantitative socioeconomic indicators, such as poverty levels, can be used to identify vulnerable communities and prioritize investments in these regions.

The process to define the prioritization of reconstruction interventions is essential to reduce downtime in disaster-affected areas. Reducing the education service downtime in affected school facilities requires optimization of the interventions. The longer the recovery and reconstruction process, the greater the negative impact on children’s education and learning. 

 

Activity 8.2.2. Set up implementation units and procedures

In this activity, the main implementation unit for the plan is defined, in line with the institutional arrangement defined above, the resources requirements are estimated, and the key activities and procedures to begin implementation are identified. The implementation unit refers to the specific office in the government entity in charge of school infrastructure that will lead the plan’s implementation. It usually corresponds with the school infrastructure management office in the ministry of education or public works. 

Guidance:

Task teams should work closely and discuss this process with the relevant decision makers. It will be important to discuss and define the roles and responsibilities of the implementation unit, the required team profiles and expertise, protocols regarding key activities to begin implementation, and coordination mechanisms or focal points at subnational levels, among others.

Having attained a full overview of the implementation unit requirements, task teams should discuss the need for adjustments (if any) to the existing institutional arrangements. Local governments may need support to strengthen capacity at the initial stage of implementation, and assisting them will be another important activity for the implementation unit. Task teams may need to conduct field visits to local offices to discuss the proposed implementation structure and get consensus on initial capacity-building needs.

In countries with no experience in school infrastructure planning, implementation of the plan may take longer to initiate. It is unrealistic to expect the implementation to go smoothly, especially in its early stages. Task teams can identify key activities to have in place to provide the minimum required capacity and the instruments needed for implementation.

In post-disaster conditions, the reconstruction process is usually led by the central government. The education, health, social, housing, and other sectors operate under their usual structures and have to coordinate with the designated reconstruction agency in charge. In this case, this activity tends to be driven by the specific requirements and coordination mechanisms established by the lead reconstruction agency. As the recovery and reconstruction process is continuous and ongoing, some procedures are usually defined along the way.

 

Activity 8.2.3. Define the investment and procurement mechanisms for implementation

In this activity, specific provisions are defined for the investment and procurement mechanisms needed for the implementation of the plan. These provisions are based on the existing legal framework and public investment system in the country. Relevant offices at the ministry of finance or education can provide valuable information and guide task teams in the process. This activity further develops, for each program and line of intervention, the information on financial sources and potential funding mechanisms presented in the investment plan defined under step 7. The teams in charge of project design will operate on the basis of these provisions.

Guidance:

Any proposed changes to the procurement of construction services should be explicitly outlined and discussed. This is a complex matter at the core of the toxic construction environment in many developing countries. Overcoming these issues may require several years of legal and institutional involvement. Task teams should ensure decision makers are provided with a solid, evidence-based proposal.

It is important to familiarize key relevant government officers with the plan’s expected investments and procurement provisions. Even with no significant shift in the existing investments and procurement mechanisms, a training program should be offered to both national and local governments to familiarize them with the plan’s implementation. The plan provides input for project design, which should accelerate the process. Project formulators and procurement teams must know and understand the detailed plan information necessary for the preparation of bidding documentation.

Reconstruction requires exceptional investment and procurement mechanisms.  Normally, decisions are made by the central government, to be applied across the whole reconstruction process. Therefore, the scope of this activity is limited, as sectors should follow the procurement mechanisms established by the central government. 

 

Activity 8.2.4. Establish an information management platform

This activity relates to the information system required to monitor and track the progress of the plan’s implementation. An information system is not only essential as a repository for records of the plan’s implementation; it can serve as a tool to monitor and evaluate progress on result indicators, including interventions and investments. Based on our experience, the lack of a well-defined and articulated information system is often a bottleneck during implementation. In this respect, the activity builds on the progress on the information system over the course of the plan’s formulation. Task teams are to evaluate whether it’s feasible to have in place an IT solution for the implementation phase or if a temporary solution should be identified until the permanent one is developed.

Guidance:

The IT solution needs to be flexible and serve as a tool to inform the decision-making process. The plan is based on the existing school infrastructure portfolio, and all attributes are linked to each school facility, which has a unique geo-referenced location. Thus, the IT solution must be able to represent information spatially at several geographic scales (country, region, municipality, and so on). It should also include the capability to host large data sets in a range of formats, including digital image information, such as pictures, videos, and remote sensing images. iCloud-based solutions can be an alternative for managing large amounts of data. Task teams should discuss the current IT infrastructure and capacity to integrate these solutions with the government or sector IT teams. 

Accessibility for a large number of users is another key requirement for the information management platform. A large number of users will be involved directly in the day-to-day use of the system. In addition, the system may need an external interface to make information available to the school communities. While the range of IT solutions in the market is growing, governments tend to prefer customized solutions based on their existing information systems. Task teams should identify the resources required for the IT solution and ensure funds are allocated to address these needs. 

Developed countries increasingly are integrating Internet connectivity into their education systems. Task teams should discuss with relevant actors in the ministry of education any opportunities for the plan to take advantage of efforts to expand Internet coverage to rural areas.   

The Structural Integrity and Damage Assessment (SIDA) is an example of an information system to support reconstruction. This web-based platform was developed to manage the reconstruction of around 6,000 school facilities affected by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Note that the functionality to organize and manage damage assessment data is particular to this type of platform. 

 

Activity 8.2.5. Establish a communication strategy

The purpose of this activity is to design a communication strategy to disseminate information about the plan’s objectives, programs, timeline, expected results, and outcomes. The strategy will help establish a direct channel of interaction with key stakeholders, including government entities (national and subnational) and school communities, academia, the private sector, IFIs, and development partners, among others. Disseminating pertinent information about the plan is important to ensure continuity and to promote a culture of accountability and transparency after the plan has been formally adopted. 

Guidance:

The communication strategy should address potential concerns from stakeholders regarding changes triggered by the plan. The plan is a policy reform process to build an enabling environment for interventions at scale that will shake up the school infrastructure status quo and have an impact on groups of interest. Task teams need to uncover in advance the sensitive topics that are sure to arise for school communities for the communication strategy to address. The strategy should “shield” the plan by highlighting its evidence-based rationale and the benefits of the proposed reforms. As is well known, international experience is very useful to elevate the discussion from a local perspective. 

Task teams must obtain from the field evidence of the positive changes and community views emanating from the plan’s policy reform. The communication strategy should gather evidence and disseminate results and changes to inform communities. In the Istanbul Safer Schools Program (ISMEP), a website providing up-to-date information on the progress of interventions in school facilities proved effective. Communities should also be provided with direct answers to questions about implementation and/or budgetary delays and any submitted inquiries.

Engagement with communities is especially important in post-disaster conditions. Since school reconstruction is not a standalone effort, an integrated communication strategy is needed to support the recovery of the education sector. Affected communities demand reliable and timely information. Any gap in communication could thwart the process. To support a resilient recovery, communities need to be engaged actively in discussions and the facilitation of reconstruction efforts. The communication strategy should also include and contribute to the affected community’s understanding of the need for and benefits from intervening, not only to repair damage but to reduce vulnerability to future hazard events.  

 

Module 8.3. Monitoring and evaluation

Through this module, task teams will define monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and provisions for any future adjustments to the plan.

 

Activity 8.3.1 Define a monitoring system and procedures

This activity defines the procedures and indicators that will be used to monitor and update systematically progress of the plan’s implementation. Monitoring refers to the progressive tracking of the plan’s implementation through both budget execution and physical interventions. The former tends to be regulated and sometimes integrated into the public investment system in a country, while the latter requires defining result indicators by lines of intervention, aggregated at the level of each school facility. These indicators are to be integrated into the monitoring system, and the procedures to collect and update this information systematically are to be defined. This is especially applicable in decentralized school systems, where the implementation is managed by local authorities. The information system will be the platform to monitor the implementation progress of the plan.

Guidance:

In addition to result indicators, outcome indicators to measure the impact of the plan need to be defined. Outcome indicators relate to the ultimate benefits for students, teachers, and school communities of an improved learning environment. Examples include indicators on safety (for instance, the number of students benefiting from safer school facilities) and functionality (such as the number of students benefiting from energy efficiency improvements on energy systems and of those benefiting from water, sanitation, and hygiene—or WASH—improvements). 

This activity also covers periodic progress reports and accountability mechanisms. Task teams should identify the progress report requirements from involved agencies and public budget regulation. Annual budget execution reports, for example, are usually prepared to provide information on the sector’s fiscal balance. Sector accountability requirements may be imposed in the form of periodic reports to public auditing agencies and legislative bodies, such as the city council, congress, or parliament. 

Under post-disaster conditions, school communities are particularly concerned with the outcomes of the reconstruction. The highest priority among affected communities is having their children go back to school. Thus, task teams should define outcome indicators that allow them to gather this information and inform communities about the progressive recovery of school capacity, either through temporary learning centers (TLCs) or reconstructed or new school facilities.

 

Activity 8.3.2. Evaluate needs for project adjustments

Adjustments to the plan will be needed as it moves toward implementation. As the planning process during the RSRS is based on the analysis of average representative school building conditions, proposed interventions will need to be complemented by detailed field inspections. Furthermore, depending on the time it took to formulate the plan and the age of the information used, there may be some differences with the actual school facility conditions. This tends to be the case, as interventions in schools are always ongoing. The plan should include a section to address this situation and define key steps to begin implementation. 

Guidance:

The final intervention at the level of each facility may differ from the plan’s proposed interventions for several reasons. The final intervention and required investment amounts for a given school building will be defined by the detailed engineering phase, which includes field visits. In this regard, task teams should anticipate some differences between the proposal of the plan and the final intervention. Issues that may lead to changes in the final intervention required in each school facility include gaps in the baseline information, mistakes in the structural classification of school buildings, and outdated ongoing interventions, among others.

Another typical situation is when new hazard or risk information is generated. If flood and landslide hazard maps at higher resolution become available, for example, the implementation unit leading the plan will need to revisit the intervention needs for school facilities located in these flood- and landslide-prone areas. Any modifications to building codes or land use regulations that were not identified early on in the formulation of the plan may also have an impact on the location or design of the interventions. Since this will always be a dynamic process, adapting and addressing these changes efficiently will be key for the team moving forward.

 

Output

The completion of activities under each module will result in one or more output(s). For post-disaster conditions, the arrows in the chart below highlight the additional information that should be included in the output. 

Module Output(s)
8.1. Implementation framework 
  • Document for the plan: Two sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text
  • Annexes: Details about activities 8.1.1 and 8.1.2
8.2. Initiation activities
  • Document for the plan: Five sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text
Document for the recovery and reconstruction plan: Five sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text
  • Annexes: Details about activities 8.2.1 to 8.5.5
8.3. Monitoring and evaluation
  • Document for the plan: Two sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text
Document for the recovery and reconstruction plan: Two sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text

Post-disaster Condition

At the end of this step, the team should be able to do the following:
a) Define the institutional and legal framework for implementation of reconstruction
b) Define prioritization criteria and kickoff activities 
c) Establish a management information platform
d) Define a monitoring and evaluation system

 

Module Activity Output
8.1. Implementation framework 8.1.1. Identify specific roles for government agencies and stakeholder capacity-building needs 8.1.1. Identify specific roles for government agencies and stakeholder capacity-building needs
8.1.2. Define the legal framework for implementation  8.1.2. Define the legal framework for implementation
8.2. Initiation activities 8.2.1. Define prioritization criteria 8.2.1. Define prioritization criteria
8.2.2. Set up implementation units and procedures 8.2.2. Set up implementation units and procedures
8.2.3. Define the investment and procurement mechanisms for implementation 8.2.3. Define the investment and procurement mechanisms for implementation
8.2.4. Establish an information management platform  8.2.4. Establish an information management platform 
8.2.5. Establish a communication strategy  8.2.5. Establish a communication strategy 
8.3. Monitoring and evaluation  8.3.1. Define a monitoring system and procedures 8.3.1. Define a monitoring system and procedures
8.3.2. Evaluate needs for project adjustments  8.3.2. Evaluate needs for project adjustments 

 

Local partners and technical expertise

The table below presents a list of suggested local partners and technical expertise required to contribute to or lead the activities of this step.

Key agencies

  • Ministry of Education: decision makers
  • Ministry of Education: infrastructure manager and planning office

 Contributing agencies

  • Ministry of Planning and Development (if any)
  • Ministry of Finance

Technical Expertise

  • Senior structural engineer (usually external advisor) 
  • Senior disaster risk management specialist (usually external advisor)
  • Ministry of Education: senior engineers, education, procurement and communication specialists, legal advisors, and specialists with knowledge of the public investment system
  • GIS specialist
  • Information management specialist in charge of EMIS (if available)

 

Module: 8.1 Implementation framework

Through this module, task teams will define the institutional arrangement and legal basis for the implementation phase.

 

Activity 8.1.1. Identify specific roles for government agencies and stakeholder capacity-building needs

The aim of this activity is to review the specific roles and responsibilities of government agencies (national and local) in advancing the implementation strategy of the plan and identifying any ways in which they need to be strengthened. Under the proposed institutional framework (activity 6.1.3), the roles within the ministry of education and other relevant agencies can range from general coordination and monitoring of the plan’s implementation (for example, from the sector level) to overseeing actual interventions at each school facility (from the subnational level). These need to be mapped to identify any gaps in key roles, and their remediation proposed as part of the strategy. 

Guidance:

A workflow chart or diagram is useful for mapping the different levels of government, their roles, and their interactions in this process. Tracking the sequence of the project cycle in line with the proposed interventions, for example, will help with mapping the involved agencies and identifying their competencies and coordination needs, along with any gaps in the process. 

Task teams must define in advance the capacity expected to be required at each level (human resources, IT, equipment, and so on) and compare this with current conditions. The results of this analysis will help determine areas in need of strengthening and capacity building. In our experience, strengthening school infrastructure management is often a challenge for governments with low institutional capacity or limited experience in infrastructure planning. This means the pace of implementation at the beginning of the plan should be based on the existing capacity, but the plan should include an objective related to building this strength over time. Task teams may need at this point to finetune the intervention strategy and investment plan accordingly. We stress the importance of this activity to avoid any major issues and bottlenecks during implementation.  

The Plan, which will operate within the education sector’s existing institutional structure, may require making adjustments or reforms. Overall, the RSRS proposes an infrastructure management approach grounded in a careful diagnosis and planning process. As the implementation of this approach is in itself a change in many developing countries, adjustments or reforms will likely be needed in the education sector and other key relevant agencies. In some cases, for example, governments will need to create dedicated offices to lead the process or transfer functions to other institutions or levels of government. Any reform undertaken as part of this process should be led by a high-level decision maker to ensure adequate political support to move the changes through the approval process. 

This activity is politically sensitive. The plan promotes a change in the planning, implementation, and management of school infrastructure to contribute to the improvement of learning environments. Managing school infrastructure in the twenty-first century requires changes to policies, institutional structure, and construction practices, among other areas, which may affect entrenched interests.

Furthermore, informality—another key factor—will need to be changed over time, given its deep roots in social and cultural practices. Hence, the changes stemming from the plan’s adoption should be communicated and disseminated to key stakeholders, including government, the school community, and civil society. Making available key information about the plan (see module 8.2) will be important in starting to promote a culture of change and accountability in what is often a politically driven environment. 

Increasing the capacity of key stakeholders is a medium-term effort. Task teams should define a realistic capacity-building strategy (including financial resources to implement it) and convene existing key players in the country (for example, universities) and international partners to contribute toward this aim. Based on our experience, developing capacity to manage school infrastructure at subnational levels, such as at the local government level, remains a largely unmet challenge in developing countries.

In post-disaster conditions, these definitions and decisions are even more essential to address the needs of the affected area and accelerate the reconstruction process. Given the priority to advance reconstruction, extensive sector reforms are unlikely to be pushed over the course of planning it. The purpose of this activity is to stipulate the roles of the key institutional players needed to operate reconstruction investments in an efficient and timely fashion. Any important gaps in roles and responsibilities should, however, be identified and mapped for action at a later time.

 

Activity 8.1.2. Define the legal framework for implementation

The purpose of this activity is to define the legal basis for the plan’s adoption and implementation. Working with the education sector’s legal team, task teams are to review the plan thoroughly to identify the legal instruments and processes that can be used for its formal adoption and make sure the legal mechanisms are in place to move forward on implementation. The adoption of the plan through a formal and binding legal instrument can help ensure continuity and support for the implementation phase and allocation of public resources. 

Guidance:

The sector’s legal team needs to be kept updated throughout the implementation of the RSRS to anticipate any changes that may be required for the plan and to participate when needed. In countries with a planning investment system in place, this can be a straightforward process, as these steps have already been mapped out. For countries with no experience in this area, however, this will be more challenging. The wide array of issues with legal implications that need to be reviewed include land property rights (with respect to school campuses), land use regulation, adjustments to planning and building regulations, and procurement and purchasing provisions, among others. 

For any policy reforms that go beyond the sector, the discussions will involve a broader group of stakeholders to reach consensus and move forward the proposed changes. Modifications to the building code, for example, may be needed to enable vulnerability reduction measures in school buildings. In some countries, this will require the participation of the technical commission in charge of reviewing this code, the ministry of education’s entity in charge of school infrastructure, and the ministry of public works, among others. The same applies to other areas, such as land use, which requires the participation of planning offices that manage cadaster information. Although they go beyond the formulation of the plan, it is essential for task teams to identify any such needs for reform and include them in the implementation strategy.

The implementation framework for the reconstruction plan is usually not complex, as governments can use exceptional legal provisions for emergency situations. A government can fast-track the relevant legal decrees or resolutions or even create a new reconstruction agency. The reconstruction plans in the education sector fall into the broader reconstruction legal framework. In that respect, task teams should identify in a timely manner the need of sector’s special provisions (if any) for the implementation framework and coordinate with the central government.  

 

Module 8.2. Initiation activities

Activities under this module focus on identifying kickoff activities that will enable infrastructure managers to begin the implementation phase.

 

Activity 8.2.1. Define prioritization criteria

This activity focuses on prioritizing interventions, which is essential to implementation of the plan. Investments in school infrastructure tend to be driven by local demands and influenced by the political environment. The RSRS advocates the use of prioritization criteria, a quantitative and evidence-based approach that is in line with government and sector policy priorities and maximizes benefits for the most children. The set of criteria can be risk-based and cost-efficient and may also include social equity (see below). This approach allows task teams to prioritize investments in a transparent, measurable way and makes possible monitoring and evaluation of progress and results. The definition of prioritization criteria is also at the core of implementing solutions at scale and at the heart of modernizing how school infrastructure is managed. 

Guidance:

The team formulating the plan must fully understand the rationale behind the intervention strategy and the need for quantitative metrics to measure and track progress. The maximization of benefits is not only based on the use of quantitative analysis; it also includes the application of engineering solutions that can be implemented and scaled up. This combination allows the cost-efficiency ratio of the investments to be maximized. 

Risk-based criteria quantify the safety benefits before and after interventions. The safety benefits for each proposed intervention option are estimated using quantitative risk assessment methods (see step 5). Risk integration implicitly raises hazard, vulnerability and exposure considerations. Although they contain sources of uncertainty, these estimates provide an adequate metric in relative terms for a comparative analysis within the school building portfolio. 

Cost efficiency criteria refer to the number of students benefitting from a given investment. A per capita cost is used as a metric to compare the monetary investments for each of the intervention options. For two school buildings with the same intervention and investment needs, for example, the ratio of benefit to cost will depend on the number of students in each building. The more students who benefit, the higher the benefit-cost ratio. 

Social equity criteria refer to reducing inequality by helping prioritize investments for the most disadvantaged. Existing quantitative socioeconomic indicators, such as poverty levels, can be used to identify vulnerable communities and prioritize investments in these regions.

The process to define the prioritization of reconstruction interventions is essential to reduce downtime in disaster-affected areas. Reducing the education service downtime in affected school facilities requires optimization of the interventions. The longer the recovery and reconstruction process, the greater the negative impact on children’s education and learning. 

 

Activity 8.2.2. Set up implementation units and procedures

In this activity, the main implementation unit for the plan is defined, in line with the institutional arrangement defined above, the resources requirements are estimated, and the key activities and procedures to begin implementation are identified. The implementation unit refers to the specific office in the government entity in charge of school infrastructure that will lead the plan’s implementation. It usually corresponds with the school infrastructure management office in the ministry of education or public works. 

Guidance:

Task teams should work closely and discuss this process with the relevant decision makers. It will be important to discuss and define the roles and responsibilities of the implementation unit, the required team profiles and expertise, protocols regarding key activities to begin implementation, and coordination mechanisms or focal points at subnational levels, among others.

Having attained a full overview of the implementation unit requirements, task teams should discuss the need for adjustments (if any) to the existing institutional arrangements. Local governments may need support to strengthen capacity at the initial stage of implementation, and assisting them will be another important activity for the implementation unit. Task teams may need to conduct field visits to local offices to discuss the proposed implementation structure and get consensus on initial capacity-building needs.

In countries with no experience in school infrastructure planning, implementation of the plan may take longer to initiate. It is unrealistic to expect the implementation to go smoothly, especially in its early stages. Task teams can identify key activities to have in place to provide the minimum required capacity and the instruments needed for implementation.

In post-disaster conditions, the reconstruction process is usually led by the central government. The education, health, social, housing, and other sectors operate under their usual structures and have to coordinate with the designated reconstruction agency in charge. In this case, this activity tends to be driven by the specific requirements and coordination mechanisms established by the lead reconstruction agency. As the recovery and reconstruction process is continuous and ongoing, some procedures are usually defined along the way.

 

Activity 8.2.3. Define the investment and procurement mechanisms for implementation

In this activity, specific provisions are defined for the investment and procurement mechanisms needed for the implementation of the plan. These provisions are based on the existing legal framework and public investment system in the country. Relevant offices at the ministry of finance or education can provide valuable information and guide task teams in the process. This activity further develops, for each program and line of intervention, the information on financial sources and potential funding mechanisms presented in the investment plan defined under step 7. The teams in charge of project design will operate on the basis of these provisions.

Guidance:

Any proposed changes to the procurement of construction services should be explicitly outlined and discussed. This is a complex matter at the core of the toxic construction environment in many developing countries. Overcoming these issues may require several years of legal and institutional involvement. Task teams should ensure decision makers are provided with a solid, evidence-based proposal.

It is important to familiarize key relevant government officers with the plan’s expected investments and procurement provisions. Even with no significant shift in the existing investments and procurement mechanisms, a training program should be offered to both national and local governments to familiarize them with the plan’s implementation. The plan provides input for project design, which should accelerate the process. Project formulators and procurement teams must know and understand the detailed plan information necessary for the preparation of bidding documentation.

Reconstruction requires exceptional investment and procurement mechanisms.  Normally, decisions are made by the central government, to be applied across the whole reconstruction process. Therefore, the scope of this activity is limited, as sectors should follow the procurement mechanisms established by the central government. 

 

Activity 8.2.4. Establish an information management platform

This activity relates to the information system required to monitor and track the progress of the plan’s implementation. An information system is not only essential as a repository for records of the plan’s implementation; it can serve as a tool to monitor and evaluate progress on result indicators, including interventions and investments. Based on our experience, the lack of a well-defined and articulated information system is often a bottleneck during implementation. In this respect, the activity builds on the progress on the information system over the course of the plan’s formulation. Task teams are to evaluate whether it’s feasible to have in place an IT solution for the implementation phase or if a temporary solution should be identified until the permanent one is developed.

Guidance:

The IT solution needs to be flexible and serve as a tool to inform the decision-making process. The plan is based on the existing school infrastructure portfolio, and all attributes are linked to each school facility, which has a unique geo-referenced location. Thus, the IT solution must be able to represent information spatially at several geographic scales (country, region, municipality, and so on). It should also include the capability to host large data sets in a range of formats, including digital image information, such as pictures, videos, and remote sensing images. iCloud-based solutions can be an alternative for managing large amounts of data. Task teams should discuss the current IT infrastructure and capacity to integrate these solutions with the government or sector IT teams. 

Accessibility for a large number of users is another key requirement for the information management platform. A large number of users will be involved directly in the day-to-day use of the system. In addition, the system may need an external interface to make information available to the school communities. While the range of IT solutions in the market is growing, governments tend to prefer customized solutions based on their existing information systems. Task teams should identify the resources required for the IT solution and ensure funds are allocated to address these needs. 

Developed countries increasingly are integrating Internet connectivity into their education systems. Task teams should discuss with relevant actors in the ministry of education any opportunities for the plan to take advantage of efforts to expand Internet coverage to rural areas.   

The Structural Integrity and Damage Assessment (SIDA) is an example of an information system to support reconstruction. This web-based platform was developed to manage the reconstruction of around 6,000 school facilities affected by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Note that the functionality to organize and manage damage assessment data is particular to this type of platform. 

 

Activity 8.2.5. Establish a communication strategy

The purpose of this activity is to design a communication strategy to disseminate information about the plan’s objectives, programs, timeline, expected results, and outcomes. The strategy will help establish a direct channel of interaction with key stakeholders, including government entities (national and subnational) and school communities, academia, the private sector, IFIs, and development partners, among others. Disseminating pertinent information about the plan is important to ensure continuity and to promote a culture of accountability and transparency after the plan has been formally adopted. 

Guidance:

The communication strategy should address potential concerns from stakeholders regarding changes triggered by the plan. The plan is a policy reform process to build an enabling environment for interventions at scale that will shake up the school infrastructure status quo and have an impact on groups of interest. Task teams need to uncover in advance the sensitive topics that are sure to arise for school communities for the communication strategy to address. The strategy should “shield” the plan by highlighting its evidence-based rationale and the benefits of the proposed reforms. As is well known, international experience is very useful to elevate the discussion from a local perspective. 

Task teams must obtain from the field evidence of the positive changes and community views emanating from the plan’s policy reform. The communication strategy should gather evidence and disseminate results and changes to inform communities. In the Istanbul Safer Schools Program (ISMEP), a website providing up-to-date information on the progress of interventions in school facilities proved effective. Communities should also be provided with direct answers to questions about implementation and/or budgetary delays and any submitted inquiries.

Engagement with communities is especially important in post-disaster conditions. Since school reconstruction is not a standalone effort, an integrated communication strategy is needed to support the recovery of the education sector. Affected communities demand reliable and timely information. Any gap in communication could thwart the process. To support a resilient recovery, communities need to be engaged actively in discussions and the facilitation of reconstruction efforts. The communication strategy should also include and contribute to the affected community’s understanding of the need for and benefits from intervening, not only to repair damage but to reduce vulnerability to future hazard events.  

 

Module 8.3. Monitoring and evaluation

Through this module, task teams will define monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and provisions for any future adjustments to the plan.

 

Activity 8.3.1 Define a monitoring system and procedures

This activity defines the procedures and indicators that will be used to monitor and update systematically progress of the plan’s implementation. Monitoring refers to the progressive tracking of the plan’s implementation through both budget execution and physical interventions. The former tends to be regulated and sometimes integrated into the public investment system in a country, while the latter requires defining result indicators by lines of intervention, aggregated at the level of each school facility. These indicators are to be integrated into the monitoring system, and the procedures to collect and update this information systematically are to be defined. This is especially applicable in decentralized school systems, where the implementation is managed by local authorities. The information system will be the platform to monitor the implementation progress of the plan.

Guidance:

In addition to result indicators, outcome indicators to measure the impact of the plan need to be defined. Outcome indicators relate to the ultimate benefits for students, teachers, and school communities of an improved learning environment. Examples include indicators on safety (for instance, the number of students benefiting from safer school facilities) and functionality (such as the number of students benefiting from energy efficiency improvements on energy systems and of those benefiting from water, sanitation, and hygiene—or WASH—improvements). 

This activity also covers periodic progress reports and accountability mechanisms. Task teams should identify the progress report requirements from involved agencies and public budget regulation. Annual budget execution reports, for example, are usually prepared to provide information on the sector’s fiscal balance. Sector accountability requirements may be imposed in the form of periodic reports to public auditing agencies and legislative bodies, such as the city council, congress, or parliament. 

Under post-disaster conditions, school communities are particularly concerned with the outcomes of the reconstruction. The highest priority among affected communities is having their children go back to school. Thus, task teams should define outcome indicators that allow them to gather this information and inform communities about the progressive recovery of school capacity, either through temporary learning centers (TLCs) or reconstructed or new school facilities.

 

Activity 8.3.2. Evaluate needs for project adjustments

Adjustments to the plan will be needed as it moves toward implementation. As the planning process during the RSRS is based on the analysis of average representative school building conditions, proposed interventions will need to be complemented by detailed field inspections. Furthermore, depending on the time it took to formulate the plan and the age of the information used, there may be some differences with the actual school facility conditions. This tends to be the case, as interventions in schools are always ongoing. The plan should include a section to address this situation and define key steps to begin implementation. 

Guidance:

The final intervention at the level of each facility may differ from the plan’s proposed interventions for several reasons. The final intervention and required investment amounts for a given school building will be defined by the detailed engineering phase, which includes field visits. In this regard, task teams should anticipate some differences between the proposal of the plan and the final intervention. Issues that may lead to changes in the final intervention required in each school facility include gaps in the baseline information, mistakes in the structural classification of school buildings, and outdated ongoing interventions, among others.

Another typical situation is when new hazard or risk information is generated. If flood and landslide hazard maps at higher resolution become available, for example, the implementation unit leading the plan will need to revisit the intervention needs for school facilities located in these flood- and landslide-prone areas. Any modifications to building codes or land use regulations that were not identified early on in the formulation of the plan may also have an impact on the location or design of the interventions. Since this will always be a dynamic process, adapting and addressing these changes efficiently will be key for the team moving forward.

 

Output

The completion of activities under each module will result in one or more output(s). For post-disaster conditions, the arrows in the chart below highlight the additional information that should be included in the output. 

Module Output(s)
8.1. Implementation framework 
  • Document for the plan: Two sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text
  • Annexes: Details about activities 8.1.1 and 8.1.2
8.2. Initiation activities
  • Document for the plan: Five sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text
Document for the recovery and reconstruction plan: Five sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text
  • Annexes: Details about activities 8.2.1 to 8.5.5
8.3. Monitoring and evaluation
  • Document for the plan: Two sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text
Document for the recovery and reconstruction plan: Two sections (one per activity) to be part of the main body of the text