Document 3:10 (2018–2019) / Published Investigation of information on the results of education aid

The amount of aid awarded for education has increased to around ten percent of total Norwegian aid. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad do not have sufficient relevant and reliable information concerning performance.

Key findings

The aid administration is not doing enough to ensure reliable and relevant performance information on education aid

  • The basis for decision-making is better documented for aid to bilateral projects than it is for aid to multilateral organisations.
  • The aid administration places little emphasis on performance reporting and data quality in project follow-up and when continuing funding. Follow-up is more thorough during the planning phase than during the implementation and final phases of projects.
  • It is unacceptable that inadequate performance reporting appears to have little impact on the allocation of grants.

Norway's aid for the "Results in Education for All Children" fund is producing uncertain and delayed results

  • Norway has spent NOK 110 million on the fund without any way of determining its performance.
  • It is unacceptable that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs failed to follow Norad's advice to develop a robust performance framework before entering into the agreement.

Reporting to the Storting on results from Norwegian education aid lacks nuance and includes a number of examples of misleading information

Instances of misleading reporting and little reference to challenges make it difficult to obtain a general overview of the results of Norwegian education aid. This could also adversely impact the Storting's decision-making basis.

Insufficient information is provided on results, administrative costs and for what Norwegian aid resources are used

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad do not have a complete overview of the amount of education aid that recipients are spending on administration. Therefore, not much information on administrative costs is provided to the Storting nor to the general public.
  • Norway has a low score on the international transparency index for aid. This is partly because not much information is made available to the general public about individual projects.

The Norwegian prioritisation of education for children with disabilities is hardly followed up in practice

  • There is not much relevant information about results.
  • It is unacceptable that the political prioritisation of children with disabilities is not reflected in the implementation and reporting of projects.

A comparison with the work of the UK's Department for International Development on performance information in education aid shows that there are opportunities for learning and improvement for the Norwegian development aid administration

When the UK's department assesses new projects, it refers to previous research and expertise to a greater extent than the Norwegian development aid administration. It also subjects annual reports to quality assurance by reviewing such information more closely and assesses goal attainment every year.

Recommendations

The Office of the Auditor General recommends that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  • Ensures that the aid administration follows up on and verifies performance reporting during the implementation phase of the projects and uses this information to make new decisions
  • Facilitates systematic learning by the aid administration from projects and other stakeholders that achieve good results and maintain good performance information
  • Ensures that information is available on results for children with disabilities in line with the Storting's request for more precise reporting for this group
  • Facilitates a more balanced approach to reporting performance from Norwegian aid, with information on both strong and weak results
  • Makes more information available to the general public on project performance and highlights the administrative costs of grant recipients

Background and objectives of the investigation

Norway awards substantial funds to aid every year, including approximately NOK 35.3 billion in 2018. Aid to education is afforded a high priority: From 2013 to 2017, the annual allocation doubled from NOK 1.7 to 3.6 billion. The Storting has repeatedly stressed the importance of having good information concerning the allocation and performance of aid.

The objective of the investigation was to assess the work being done by Norad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure reliable, relevant information concerning the results of education aid.

 

Kategorier: Foreign affairs