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Honestly, We Don’t Know

VU International News and Reviews No. 121 October 08 2018

October 2018

The Boston College Center for International Higher Education published a report Higher Education Management Training schemes in the Field of Development Cooperation.

While it provides a useful overview and description of the various programmes – funded by multiple donors – which aim to assist managers, administrators and leaders of universities in developing countries to improve the way they do their jobs, the report has to acknowledge limited results on their crucial 3rd research question: one question on the impact and effectiveness of these programmes.

Most programmes don’t cater for post-intervention assessment of change. Where Nuffic is one of the few managers of such programmes that does some post programme assessment, also Nuffic – I happen to know – has no mechanism to compare “before intervention” with “after intervention” data; let alone “with intervention” and “without intervention”. Part of the mixed and reduced societal credit of capacity development programmes is due to this extreme weakness in demonstrating the effectiveness and the report would have been stronger if it had pointed that out more clearly – contractors allowing, of course.

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