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Cost data analysis of USAID education programs: practical guidance

Sun, April 14, 10:00am to 1:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Pacific Concourse (Level -1), Pacific N

Group Submission Type: Pre-conference Workshop


Brief Description: This workshop will provide hands-on dive into cost data analysis of education projects, based on the recent USAID cost analysis guidance. We will cover steps of conducting cost-economy, cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness analysis. This workshop is essential for evaluators and data analysts, but it will also be very helpful for program managers of USAID activities in the education sector. This workshop is designed to be highly participatory and we ask that participants come prepared to contribute their experience and expertise.

Workshop Rationale: While the field of international education has made great strides in recent years with raising the number and the quality of impact evaluations, their results are incomplete without cost data for these interventions. Policy-makers and donors cannot make fully informed decisions about the best way to invest limited resources without information about the costs of achieving desired outputs and outcomes through different interventions or delivery strategies. Evidence on cost of interventions is also critical for making responsible decisions about scaling and sustaining programs within country systems.

The cost of specific components of common interventions in the education sector--such as in-service teacher training, or the production of books--and how these costs vary in response to programmatic and contextual features, is poorly understood due to lack of associated cost data. Costs of these essential components of education delivery are frequently bundled with the cost of other components, and thus are not readily available for examination by policy makers. Developing standard mechanisms for capturing the costs of education interventions will increase transparency, allow for the linkage of costs to outcomes, and enable value-for-money analyses, thus providing a pathway toward resource optimization across programs and contexts.

Cost data analyses lay the foundation for expenditure-sensitive development programming decisions and national and regional policy decisions by providing information on costs of education intervention components and which programs are more likely to provide the greatest value for money. With the passage of the READ Act, the need for improved evidence base to drive USAID investment decisions is more urgent than it has ever been before. USAID Education Strategy emphasizes the need for collection, analysis and use of comprehensive cost data in order to inform our own investments, as well as decisions in partner countries, pertaining to scaling and replicating programs, increasing the
effectiveness and efficiency of activities and promoting sustainability. Obtaining detailed data on costs of intervention components also helps in budgeting, program design, management, and communications.
To date, cost analyses have not been widespread and information on cost alongside impacts of education interventions is not broadly available to guide investment decisions by donors as well as host governments. With the release of the Cost Reporting Guidance and the Cost Analysis Guidance notes, USAID established a foundation for routinization of cost analyses as part of the ongoing improvement of the evidence base in the education sector.
This workshop will:
• Provide an overview of the changing policy landscape in the international development and the role of cost information as an essential part of the evidence base in the education sector
• Provide an overview of USAID’s approach to cost measurement for education projects.
• Present three types of cost data analysis, discuss what we can learn from each and what data are necessary for each.
• Practice selecting right type of data analysis given cost questions and available data.
• Practice basic steps of cost data analysis using provided case study data.

Learning objectives:
• Understand the policy drivers behind cost measurement for USAID education portfolio.
• Learn about USAID’s approach to cost measurement.
• Learn about different methods of cost analysis and how they map to analytical objectives.
• Understand which data are necessary for different types of data analysis.
• Learn to apply USAID cost analysis guidance.

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