Monitoring, as a part of the evaluation, may be defined as a process of watching periodically the progress of a programme or project with a view to identifying shortfalls, if any and taking appropriate corrective measures in order to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the programme. Monitoring is an essential component of all the population educațion programmes.
The main objectives of monitoring
a) assess the progress programme/project with reference to their immediate and long-term objectives.
b) identify necessary action in order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the programme or project.
c) provide feedback information for adjustments in work plan and budgets, and provide information on future programme needs.
It can be divided into four stages or steps viz planning, inputs, processes and outputs. These normally form the main ingredients of any project or programme. The planning stage involves setting the objectives of the programme in terms of immediate, intermediate, and ultimate and deciding the plan of operation.
The target groups to be covered and the scope and duration of the programme are also fixed. The inputs, external and internal, in the form of men, money and materials are provided to the programme. This leads to the third stage of implementation of the programme which involves the development of materials, training of personnel, research as well as management of the different components.
The fourth stage completes the cycle of monitoring in which the outcomes of the programme in terms of material, learning outcomes, personnel trained and achievement of objectives are assessed. Each of these stages is complementary and interrelated.
Monitoring is a process of watching periodically the progress of a programme or project with a view to identifying shortfalls and taking appropriate corrective measures in order to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the programme.
Types of Monitoring
Monitoring can be classified under four main categories depending on the functions it serves.
a- Financial Monitoring is one of the important components of any programme. The availability of funds in adequate quantity at the appropriate time will determine, to a great extent, the smooth implementation of programme activities. It is, therefore, necessary to find out whether the funds are being made available to the project on time and whether these are being utilized as per work plan and according to approved financial procedures.
b- Administrative monitoring involves the strengthening of management and organizational structure of the programme at various levels, where they exist and the creation of a new set up where it is required. Besides. the setup and strengthening of the infrastructure. arrangements for the training of personnel, production and distribution of materials, purchases and supply of equipment. creation of Advisory/Coordination Committees at various levels and other such functions come under the purview of administrative monitoring.
c- Academic or technical monitoring is one of the most important aspects of any successful programme. It involves the monitoring of technical inputs and progresses that go into the programme – such as quality of training programmes; type of supervision and guidance available at various levels; types of materials available and their relevance to learner’s needs, requirements and interests, etc.
d- Physical monitoring of the programme is equally important, e.g. the location, time, physical facilities, etc. go along way to determine the success of the programme. The equipment and materials needed for programme implementation will be stated in the plan. These should be supplied strictly according to the specifications and the time schedule mentioned in the plan, rule it should also be one of the responsibilities of the exercise of monitoring to ensure that equipment purchased for the-programme is not diverted to other.
Conditions for a successful Monitoring System
There are certain pre-requisites of an efficient and effective monitoring system.
1- Regularity refers to the submission of reports and returns at regular intervals. Much value of reports is lost if these are delayed and do not reach the v concerned person time.
2- Accuracy of information is another factor as it provides credibility to the programme. If the supplied information is inaccurate, it will be of little use in taking corrective actions.
3- Promptness is analysis, and supply of feedback to the concerned persons is crucial in monitoring.
4- Completeness of information and feedback is also an important condition monitoring. If the information provided is incomplete, even if supplied regularly, accurately and promptly, will be of little use in taking any decision or action for the improvement of the programme.
The Monitoring Process
Monitoring may include analysis, reviewing and evaluation of the progress in terms of (a) Financial-cost and expenditure, (b) physical – production performance and physical progress/achievement, (c) Time for completion of various activities including administrative activities and sanctions, (d) Avoiding pitfalls experienced in similar situations, and (e) incorporating procedures of advantage in reducing cost and timeframe obtained from experience elsewhere.
The first task in introducing a monitoring system is to clearly identify the educational objectives, targets, strategies and the concrete tasks and actions to be performed according to the schedule. In presenting an observing framework one should likewise think about the topic of expenses.
Too frequent monitoring, or monitoring with how excessive data, can become not only costly but also co-productive. A decentralized system of management would ensure that monitoring takes place at different levels with relevant data.
Achievement of specific objectives involves a series of planned operations, each of which has to be completed at a specific time so that subsequent steps can proceed.
Monitoring helps to ensure that various steps are completed by the concerned persons. Monitoring also helps in enforcing accountability for the performance of various tasks by clearly bringing out how much of the tasks are performed, by whom, in what time and with what quality.
It is necessary to ensure linkage between targets and resources so that the targets. is physically achievable within the resources allocated/provided on a reasonably realistic basis. The fundamental purpose behind monitoring is to recognize the zones requiring restorative activity so as to guarantee fruitful usage according to the timetables.
The monitoring function involves
(i) watching actual performance, comparing it with the targets and identifying shortfalls, (ii) raising warning signals in advance by observing the actual physical progress of critical milestones as per the network in terms of the scheduled dates as well as the latest allowable dates of completion and informing the decision-makers, (iii) identifying the problem areas, analyzing the problems, suggesting action areas, and (iv) giving feedback of the decision to the implementing agencies, developing data bank, etc.
Summary of essential features of monitoring: monitoring is an integral part of management; monitoring functions may not be seen as “external” intervention; supplementary data must be used to fill information gaps and not to duplicate existing resources; integrated orientation of the monitoring staff be ensured; the key to success in monitoring is a combination of timely action, concise reporting, and flexibility in response to unexpected developments.
There are two techniques for the monitoring of a project. These are TRat (i) Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT); and (üi) Critical Path Method (CPM). These techniques are being discussed in detail in the following lines.
Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
Periodic monitoring is linked to the PERT/CPM analysis at the time of a plan a formulation and its execution for chalking out the construction phase project, the role of PERT/CPM techniques of construction management is quite important. Network techniques of construction management are quite important, network technique is quite useful and helps the project managers minimize the chances of schedule slippages, cost over-run and contractual difficulties.
The network technique is known under different names such as Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) or Critical Path Method (CPM). Their methods are conceptually very similar. Network atonal techniques refer to the method of planning, scheduling, and control of A projects, especially major projects which are of the complex in nature.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
Critical Path Method (CPM) is a useful technique for project implementation, it is a technique concerned with finding the least cost way of carrying out a task which consists of a number of activities, at least some of which have to be carried out consecutively.
The main application of this technique is in the sphere of planning/controlling construction programs for large infrastructural and industrial projects. This technique works by first setting out the ways in which activities are related and then to find out the length of time required for completion of each activity. Any sequence of activities that must be carried out consecutively defines a path and the time taken to complete all the activities in path simply the sum fo the separate activity times.