Early Childhood Education (ECE) Mid-Term Evaluation - International Consultant

Save the Children

Rue Nerhu, Unit 25 Phonexay Village Xaysettha District Vientiane Capital


Terms of Reference:

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Mid-Term Evaluation - International Consultant


Almost seventy percent (70%) of children from 3-5 years old have in Laos have no access to any form of early childhood education . With little or no preparation at all, children enter primary schools that use a curriculum that is known to have high demands on children and is taught in the national language. This lack of preparation of children is assumed to be one of the reasons for the resulting low learning outcomes among children in primary schools, especially in rural ethnic areas. Efforts have been going on in Laos to revise the primary level curriculum and to strengthen the approaches in teaching Lao language to non-Lao speaking children. But the issue of making early childhood education accessible to young children to support their development and build the foundations for learning remain a big gap in the system.

Save the Children plans to work with the Department for Early Childhood Education of the Government of Laos’ Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) to address this challenge on providing young children with access to early childhood education and provide more children with a head start in life.

In the past several years, the MOES has partnered with a number of development partners, including Save the Children, to develop and pilot modalities of delivering early childhood education. To be able to move towards increasing access, the ECE Department has to develop a strategy that the MOES will use countrywide to adequately support early learning and development among children 3-5 years old.

This partnership between Save the Children and MOES will focus on implementation of the modalities that the MOES has deemed most effective based on pilot experience, and adapting these to contexts where children belong to smaller ethnic groups are in remote rural areas, including areas with low population densities, Ready to School (RtS) Project: A Community Partnership in Early Childhood Education program has been implemented since January 2019 in Nambak and Phonthong districts in LuangPrabang Province, Laos. Over three and a half years, the RtS program will support the ECE Department, specifically 27 ECD learning centres and local officials and communities in the two target districts within LuangPrabang. The program will promote ECE for more children, so that they can have a head start in life.

Through the Ready to School Project, the ECE Department will be supported in working with target local officials and communities in LuangPrabang in setting up, adapting, and managing a combination of 3 programme models that are now running in pilot areas in the country.

1-The Pre-primary (PP) programme – a one-year education programme for 5-year-old children that aims to prepare them for Grade 1 classrooms by introducing them to the Lao language, reading, writing, and maths, as well as provide opportunities for socialisation. The classrooms are held for a full day, with 5-6 hours of structured learning activities. This programme was developed by the MOES with various development partners including Save the Children and UNICEF, and is the main ECE modality implemented by the government.  This modality will be used in Nambak District in conjunction with CCDG.

2- The Community Child Development Group (CCDG) – an education programme for children 3-4 years old, focusing more on providing children with opportunities for play and socialisation. This modality is being piloted with support from the World Bank Global Partnership for Education project.  This modality will be used in Nambak District in conjunction with PP.

3- Multi-Age Teaching classrooms (MAT) – similar to CCDG, this mode of delivering ECE was conceptualised to provide ECE opportunities to children in villages where there are low numbers of children.   MAT classrooms target children ages 3 through 5. This modality will be used in Phonthong District.

Communities, through the Village Education Development Committees (VEDCs), will be engaged in planning the ECE programmes in their area and will be encouraged to contribute ECE venues tapping existing community spaces, as well as contribute time to supervise/manage the centres and provide volunteer teachers and community facilitators, with support.

Ready to School will strive to carefully study the various inputs necessary for setting up and maintaining these modalities of ECE and strive to identify and maintain levels that could potentially be sustained by the MOES and the communities. The MOES plans to conduct evaluations of these 3 modalities in the next year few years and the RTS   can be part of these evaluations that will help the MOES in decision making. 

The project will link with the global Ready to Learn Common Approach of SC to benefit from and contribute to global learning and technical support, with adaptations to the context in Laos.  

Understanding that most mothers of these children are also very young, this ECE programme will integrate efforts to engage young mothers and provide opportunities for their own development as they participate in the education of their children.

The Goal of this project is: Vulnerable children, including girls, have improved readiness for primary education through participation in a quality early childhood education (ECE) program in enabling communities. Three program models: 1) the pre-primary program, 2) the community child development group, and 3) multi-age teaching classes, are managed and running in the targeted remote areas where children belong to ethnic groups. The project aims to achieve four outcomes as follow:

  • Increased access to early childhood education (ECE) interventions for children, including girls, in target disadvantaged communities (outcome 1)
  • Improved capacity of stakeholders in the community and strengthened system for quality early childhood education programs that protect and promote children’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development (outcome 2).
  • Young mothers and out of school girls are empowered through life skills training and active participation in early childhood education of children in their communities (outcome 3)
  • Evidences of sustainable and effective design and implementation strategies for community managed early childhood education program in remote disadvantaged communities are established for MOES' reference in planning scale up of ECE programming in the country (outcome 4)


The mid-term evaluation will be conducted in order to review project progress and implementation of child development and learning outcomes as well as their learning environment at home in targeted districts of Nambak and Phonethong prior to the project activities.

Primary objectives of this mid-term evaluation are to:

  • To review project progress for children’s early learning and development outcomes on four core domains: emergent literacy, emergent numeracy, social-emotional development, gross and fine motor development.
  • To review children’s exposure to learning and playing materials at home as well as various types of interactions with their parents.
  • To review the explore if or how a variance in children’s development is associated with caregivers’ demographic, socio-economic backgrounds, home learning environment and activities
  • Determine whether the IDELA global tool is suitable for assessments of children with disabilities who attend the early intervention program.

Secondary objective:

  • To assess and evaluate the project relevance/design, implementation, effectiveness & sustainability
  • To provide summary of implementation and output to date based on monitoring data and document lessons learnt. Lessons taken away from the evaluation will feed into best practices moving forward, guiding on how to better design and provide services to highly vulnerable children and their caregivers.

Research Questions

  • What are the current children’s development outcomes on four core domains measurement by IDELA, and how have they improved?
  • What is the current children’s learning and playing materials at home? what types of interactions do children have with their caregivers, and how have they improved?
  • How is children’s development associated with caregivers’ practices, and how have they improved?
  • How has IDELA helped you assess your child’s disabilities? and how has IDELA help you support them?
  • To what degree did these programs address relevant needs, how effective were they in meeting these needs, and how sustainable are these programs? (It was necessary to map out implementation activities since program start, in order to have a full understanding of how the program was implemented.)

Scope of the study

Mid-term evaluation will be conducted in 25 villages (one ECE learning centre per village) across those 2 districts (21 villages at Nambak and 4 villages at Phonthong district).

Methodology and Tools

In keeping the baseline methodology, the midline used a mixed-methods, repeated Cross-sectional study.

Two types of tool to be use, the first evaluated is the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA), which directly assesses developmental skills through a series of games with children, covering 4 core domains-emergent literacy, emergent numeracy, social-emotional development, gross and fine motor development. The second evaluated is the Home Environment evaluation which will be answered by the main caregivers of the children assessed by IDELA. The Home Environment survey will assess the family’s social, economic and demographic backgrounds as well as home learning environments for children.

Sample size

A total of sample size approximately 300 children aged 3.5-6 years who have completed ECE curriculum (PP, CCDG and MAT) from current project intervention, and approximately 300 caregivers who have trained on ECE curriculum.

The mid-term evaluation has designed to hire external consultant to be support evaluation process, the specific role and responsible as follow:

Consultant Tasks

-Review study designed (inception report)

-Review assessment tool

-Data review (monitoring data and primary data)

-Data analysis

-Produce preliminary finding

-Complete evaluation report

-Provide PPT for the key finding both English

-Submit package of final draft report.

Expected Outputs

-Adapted version of IDELA administrative guide and stimulus cards

-Adapted Home Environment assessment tool

-Primary data from 25 schools and their caregivers

-Quality of midterm evaluation report

-Key finding and recommendation (English and Lao)


-Advanced degree in education, Development or another relevant field

-Extensive experience in conducting evaluations with early childhood education programs. Previous work

-Demonstrated knowledge of using IDELA tool

-Strong quantitative analytical and writing skills (in English)

-Flexibility to make adjustments and changes when necessary

Management of consultancy     

Somxay Inthasone Head of Education Sector


We propose consultant to carry out the project evaluation over a period of 16 days, while the specific dates of implementation depend on the availability of the team members and consultant consultation.

No Date and Time Main activities / Tasks Responsibilities Supported by # of days for consultant
1 5th -6th Oct, 2020 Review inception report/IDELA tools/materials and provide feedback to RTS team External consultant PM 02
2 14th -15th Oct, 2020 Consultant review monitoring data and pre-analysis External consultant RTS team 02
3 16th – 19th Nov, 2020 Data analysis External consultant PM, Team and Noy 04
4 23rd Nov, 2020 Share preliminary finding to RTS team External consultant PM, Team and Noy 01
5 23rd -26th Nov, 2020 Produce midterm report and share to RTS project External consultant   04
6 30th Nov, 2020 Revise report per feedback/comment from RTS/SCHK External consultant   01
7 1st Dec, 2020 Provide PPT key finding and recommendation (English & Lao) to RTS team External consultant   01
8 3rd Dec, 2020 Share final package of midterm report to RTS team External consultant   01
  Total of working days       16 days

Application Information:

Interested candidates please submit full application and a copy your ID card/passport to hr.laos@savethechildren.org (specify the position ‘Early Childhood Education (ECE) Mid-Term Evaluation  Consultant’ you apply to).

Closing date is 24 Sep 2020. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Save the Children International is a child-rights based organization. Safe recruitment is central to the safeguarding of children and young people that we come into contact with, and support through our programmes.

We need to keep children safe so our selection process, which includes rigorous background checks, reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse.

Save the children is an equal opportunities employer, qualified females, persons with disability and candidates from diverse cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

All employees are expected to carry out their duties in accordance with our global anti-harassment policy.



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Save the Children

Save the Children

Rue Nerhu, Unit 25 Phonexay Village Xaysettha District Vientiane Capital

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Telephone : (+856-21) 454201-3
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