Introduction

The Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge (EIC) was launched on June 24, 2019, inviting education organisations or stakeholders working in education (including proprietors operating approved schools) to propose innovative ideas for working with students, teachers and head teachers in government approved primary schools across 15 (Falaba not included in pilot) districts in Sierra Leone with the goal of improving competency in literacy and numeracy. The initiative was to be implemented in phases starting with an incubation and experimenting in government and government assisted schools, followed by evaluation of results to determine scale up and a final nationwide spread depending on the results of the preliminary years. There were 2 category of schools in the experiment: for the first group, service providers will be contracted to implement an innovation working with the existing school teachers, pupils and systems; the first group will also have funds awarded to school authorities to implement as deemed fit (within guidelines – used to improve learning outcomes, must report on use of funds, and awareness in School Board/SMC/community); the second group of schools will receive no funds or intervention.  The HCD Incubator which is the entity coordinating the implementation of the Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge is looking to hire a reputable enumerator firm to conduct an endline assessment of students’ literacy and numeracy in the participating schools in the 2 categories explained above. This RFP is an invitation to firms in Sierra Leone who have experience collecting data in the country especially across the districts and within short timelines.

Background

His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, has laid out a clear vision of Human Capital Development (HCD) focusing on 3 sectors: education (feed the mind), health (take care of the body) and food (feed the belly); with education being the flagship program of his administration. To develop human capital, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) is committed to seeding, translating and scaling sustainable innovations at national level, leveraging on existing data, technologies and partnerships.  This work is led by the Human Capital Development Incubator at the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) in the Office of the President, in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE).  The Education Innovation Challenge initiative focuses on the education sector, “feed the mind”. Sierra Leone is looking to technology and innovation to make transformational gains for human capital development. The Education Innovation Challenge will start by experimenting with solutions locally to drive innovations for improving basic reading and math proficiency at the primary school level. It aims at incubating potential interventions that can feed into the public education system, by working with the existing government education structures to improve competency in literacy and numeracy, with innovation and technology being the fundamental drivers.

Purpose and intended impact of the work

Unlike many interventions that focus on output e.g., the number of schools and students participating in the intervention, the Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge will focus on the outcome and impact on learning. Interventions will be specifically measured by improvements in primary students’ reading and math scores as a result of this intervention. This requires analytics from strong data and evidence. The contractor enumerator firm will conduct an independent standardized test in the participating schools at the end of the 2021/2022 school year. This data will help government to test whether the Sierra Leone Education Challenge intervention increased reading and arithmetic learning.

Scope of Work and Terms of Reference

The primary role of the enumerator firm is to hire and supervise the enumerators that will administer the assessment test, including all logistical arrangements to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of the activity. The HCD Incubator will be responsible for developing and making the assessment tool available to the contracted enumerator firm for the assessment to be conducted. The HCD Incubator will also be responsible for training the hired enumerators and cleaning the data collected at the end of the implementation.

Deliverables

The contract will be awarded in time to ensure enumerators are trained and prepared to conduct the baseline assessment at the start of the school year by July 2022. The contracted firm will have the following deliverables:
  • Develop a detailed workplan for approval by the HCD Incubator
  • Hire enumerators to conduct baseline reading and math assessments in the 340 participating schools across the 15 districts
  • Conduct endline assessment
  • Compile baseline data
  • Submit a detailed report of the endline assessment activity

Term of Reference

The contracted enumerator firm will be responsible for the following:
  • Develop workplan and timelines for conducting endline assessments in the 340 participating schools.
  • Hiring enumerators/data collectors and supervising the roll-out of the reading and math assessments.
  • The HCD Incubator and DSTI will develop the assessment tool and will be responsible for training the hired enumerators on the methodology and the safeguarding policy. It will be the responsibility of the firm to supervise the enumerators throughout the implementation period.
  • Ensure the data collectors have access to the assessment tool to cover the needs of the baseline survey, including obtaining any required copyright or other permissions for proprietary surveys.
  • Organization and provision of logistical support (transport, per-diem, etc.) to data collectors and supervisors while data is collected
  • Implementation of designed methodology with the approval of the HCD Incubator.
  • Implementation of checks and controls designed in conjunction with the HCD Incubator to ensure the quality of the information being collected during the survey’s implementation and a protocol for returning to the field if necessary, when errors for assessment results reach a certain threshold.
  • Compilation of assessment results using the software provided by the HCD Incubator to ensure relevant quality control of data entry, including double entry, consistency and range checks.
  • DSTI and the HCD Incubator will be responsible for the data cleaning and analysis. It is the responsibility of the enumerator firm to collect and submit credible data.

Proposal submission, requirements and evaluation

Proposal submission guidelines

Please attach the following documents in addition to your technical and financial proposals:
  • Valid Business Registration Certificate 
  • Valid Certificate of GST Registration 
  • Valid Certificate of TIN Registration 
  • Valid Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Valid NASSIT Clearance Certificate

Technical proposal

There is no fixed format for writing out the technical narrative of the proposal. In summary, the technical narrative should reflect the following without exceeding a maximum of 10 pages:
  • Background information on the firm
  • Proposed methodology for the implementation of services
  • The firm’s relevant experience and the expertise of its staff (including CVs of main project team that will lead implementation)

Financial proposal

GoSL expects service providers to reflect value for money throughout the development of their financial proposal. This will be critical in the evaluation process. Financial proposals should be developed with the following considerations:
  • Assessment will be done in 340 schools across the 15 districts in Sierra Leone 30 students per school.
  • The financial proposal should include all logistical arrangements for the enumerators that will be contracted by the selected firm to conduct the assessment.
  • We expect the firm to propose rates for this work and the evaluation will be based on competitive financial proposals received in this bid.
  • Successful proposals will go through a negotiation stage where costs will be reconsidered.  Hard to reach schools will be considered for an additional amount, if justified.

Proposal scoring rubric

Scoring Category Points possible
Technical proposal
Expertise and experience of the Firm/team 20
Methodology 30
Financial proposal
Costed budget that reflects value for money 30
Service provider’s capacity to deliver 20
Total 100

Qualification of the prospective enumerator firm

The enumerator firm must demonstrate capacity and capabilities in the following to be considered for this activity:
  • Have legal status enabling the organization to perform the above-mentioned tasks.
  • Be an expert in fieldwork required for assessment surveys.
  • Strong capacity and experience in planning and organizing survey logistics, including the design and implementation to ensure high quality data.
  • Demonstrate skills in project management.
  • Ability to report to the evaluation team effectively on progress of the work, including the submission of interim entered data and the identification of noticeable difficulties.
  • Capacity to store and maintain data in a manner that protects respondents’ identities as applicable.
  • Be ready to assume work as soon as possible.
  •  

How to submit your application

This Request for Proposal (RFP) and relevant templates will be published via the following links on the website of the Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation (www.dsti.gov.sl)) under the ‘Request for Proposals’ menu. It will also be sent to the District Education Offices of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and shared via social media platforms. This RFP will have a 4 week duration (please see application timelines below) during which applicants are expected to develop and submit their proposals to proposals@dsti.gov.sl Should you have any questions about this RFP in advance of the submission deadline of 15:00 GMT May 10th, 2022 please email proposals@dsti.gov.sl Applications should be submitted by email to proposals@dsti.gov.sl. Only complete applications including 1. a technical proposal following the above guidelines and 2. a financial proposal in the provided budget template will be eligible for evaluation.

Application review and selection

Submitted applications will be reviewed by a credible evaluation committee. Scoring will be based on the demonstration of a clear pathway for implementing this activity and the listed scoring rubric categories above. Selection will be done by the evaluation committee based on the firm’s track record, experience and capability. The selected firm will be contacted by the evaluation committee to engage them and negotiate technical details of the implementation. This will include ascertaining their ability to conduct the work against the above deliverables and terms of reference. It may include review of their technical proposal and recommendations for improvement, negotiation of financials submitted by the applicant where applicable. At the end of the engagement, the selected firm and the HCD Incubator should have clarity on what is required of them and their obligations in making the assessment survey a success.

Payment terms

Further information on the payment terms and structure will be discussed during negotiation with the selected firm.

Terms and Conditions

The HCD Incubator is not obligated to accept any of the proposals submitted or to enter into an agreement with any of the applicants. The HCD incubator reserves the right to reject any or all responses, to waive any technical requirement, and to select the firm that, in the Incubator’s judgment, best meets the requirements of this project and the needs of the Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge.

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