The CSC’s evaluation and monitoring programme is coordinated by a team at the CSC Secretariat and overseen by the CSC’s Evaluation and Monitoring Committee, which includes both Commissioners and representatives from the Department for International Development (DFID), our main funding body.
The CSC has undertaken monitoring, of the progress of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows and of the scheme as a whole, for many years. Our evaluation programme activity began in earnest in 2007, building on work undertaken following the establishment of the alumni programme in 2000. Participants at a 2007 workshop hosted by the CSC, including current Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows and representatives from national nominating agencies across the Commonwealth and other funding organisations, drew up guidelines leading to the design of the programme, which commenced in September 2007.
The first four years of the programme were based around three key phases of activity:
Phase 1 involved building on and maintaining the existing database to ensure a sound and reliable source of basic data.
Phase 3 involved identifying key areas of interest and, using the Phase 2 data as a starting point, undertaking further investigation into the impact of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships in key sectors.
Since 2011, the CSC has taken a longer-term, more strategic approach. A new survey exercise was introduced, with the intention of surveying alumni on a five-yearly basis. Targeted surveys for shorter fellowship programmes were also introduced, alongside new tools such as focus groups, interviews, and a counterfactual study. The CSC has also been working with other organisations to explore the current state of scholarship evaluation in the sector, and attending scholar and alumni events to raise awareness of the evaluation programme and its importance to both the effective running and the future of the CSC and its activities.