Call for Proposals: An End-Term Evaluation of the First National Bank Fund Tertiary Education Programme

Tshikululu Social Investments
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Tuesday, 22 May, 2018
Opportunity type: 
Call for proposals

Tshikululu Social Investments is South Africa’s leading social investment manager, providing a comprehensive service for private sector entities, including the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, the De Beers Fund and the FirstRand Foundation, implementing strategic social investment solutions for the greater good. 
Tshikululu focuses on identifying and partnering with champions of social change within the education, health and social development sectors.
On behalf of the FirstRand Foundation, Tshikululu Social Investments NPC (hereafter referred to as Tshikululu) wishes to appoint a Service Provider to conduct an End-Term Evaluation of the FNB Tertiary Education Programme (TEP).
These terms of reference describe the scope and basic requirements of the programme.      
Programme rationale
The FNB Fund TEP has been running, in one form or another, since 2004. The overall aim of the programme is to provide access to financially disadvantaged students with academic potential who will pursue and complete tertiary studies. A number of key principles have underpinned the TEP, particularly in the last five years:

  • Preference for rural students pursuing commerce, engineering and science degrees;
  • The day-to-day management of the programme is outsourced to reputable bursary service providers who enter into a formal agreement with the Fund regarding monitoring, progress reports and payments of individual bursaries;
  • Mentoring, support and ongoing monitoring of the students by service providers is a prerequisite of the programme;
  • Ongoing bursary support is subject to passing each year, but if students pass the Fund will ensure the bursary remains in place until graduation; and
  • There is no pay back or work obligation for students to FNB.
  • To date, there have been approximately 496 students who have graduated; and 200 students are supported annually.
The FNB Fund and the First Rand Foundation (FRF) have transitioned in its strategic focus. The broader aim of the FRF (of which the FNB Fund reports into) is to adopt a systemic social investment approach to its funding. This includes investing in initiatives that will transform the education sector across the education continuum (Early Childhood Development, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Tertiary Funding to the world of work).
The TEP programme is one of four initiatives in the Tertiary Education Sector that are being funded by the FNB Fund. The other initiatives include: The Black Academics Programme (focusing on supporting the development of Black Academics in South Africa), ISFAP (Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme-focusing on providing funding and wrap around support to students who demonstrate financial need) and Graduate Assistance Programme (focusing on assisting students to graduate through paying off any outstanding student debt).
The purpose of the evaluation is to account for impact, document lessons learnt, develop an understanding of the Tertiary Funding landscape, and to make a strategic assessment (and decision) regarding which FNB Fund Tertiary Funding Initiative offers the best value for money, and sustainable long-term and systemic impact.
Evaluation questions for the Programme
  • How has the programme been implemented across different sites and service providers?
    • What are the elements of the programme that make the programme successful?
    • How does the TEP compare to other bursary programmes?
  • To what extent is the TEP needed?
    • Which other funders are funding the same degree streams? Which elements of bursary funding do they provide?
    • What relevance does the TEP have in the current bursary funding landscape?
  • What has the programme achieved to date?
    • Graduation
    • Funding
    • Links – networking / leveraged efforts
    • Employment
  • What impact has the programme had on the lives of programme beneficiaries (bursars)?
    • What value has it contributed to the lives of bursars?
    • How has the programme been able to address their needs?
    • How has the programme benefited bursars with disabilities?
    • How have the bursars experienced the programme and being funded by other funders?
    • To what extent have graduates been able to find jobs in their related degree streams? What are the barriers and enablers?
    • How many bursars are currently employed?
    • Which sectors are bursars employed in?
    • Are bursars employed in the sectors that they are qualified for?
    • What are the career plans of the bursars?
    • What are the common themes amongst the bursars in terms of their career plans?
    • What components of the bursary programme have contributed to the bursar employability?
  • What has been learnt during the implementation of the TEP?
    • What can be done to strengthen the TEP in future?
  • What strategic action can be taken that can extend the impact of the TEP?
  • Which of the FNB Fund supported tertiary initiatives offers the best value for money?
  • Which of the FNB Fund supported initiatives offers the best value for money in terms of achieving sustainable impact?
Evaluation questions for the Higher Education System
  • How has free-fee education impacted the system?
    • Who is being funded and for what?
    • What plan does government have in rolling out free higher education?
    • What impact does free-fee have on bursary administrators?
    • What impact does free-fee have on funders?
    • What impact does free-fee have on HEI subsidies?
  • What shifts have there been in performance indicators in HEIs?
    • What is the average dropout rate?
    • What is the average throughput rate?
    • What is the dropout rate and throughput rate of NSFAS versus other bursary programmes?
  • What are the support mechanisms offered to students?
    • What kind of support do HEIs offer to students?
    • What has been the impact of support mechanisms?
    • Is the support mechanisms of other bursary administrators either than those of FNB?
    • What are best practices in terms of student support?
The key activities of the Service Provider during this assignment will be as follows:
  • Conduct an in-depth literature review of the Tertiary Education funding landscape in South Africa and the success of alternative Tertiary Education Funding Models
  • Comparing the Bursary experience of TEP students with other Bursary Providers, and programme beneficiaries from the other three FNB Fund Tertiary funding initiatives
  • Propose a representative sample for interviews and a survey
  • Design the evaluation methodology data collection tools (both qualitative and quantitative)
  • Conduct interviews with students, Bursary Providers and Key Stakeholders at Tertiary Institutions, Subject Matter Experts in Tertiary Education Funding
  • Administer survey questionnaires via email and telephonically with students.
  • Capture and verify data.
  • Analyse data and prepare the report findings
  • Produce a draft report, an Executive Summary of the Evaluation and a Final Report, taking into account comment and feedback from Tshikululu Social Investments and an edited version of the Final Report that does not disclose the identity of key stakeholders involved in the Evaluation.
  • A Project Plan (or evaluation plan) should be provided to demonstrate when the key Evaluation activities will be taking place, as well as the expected delivery dates of key project deliverables
  • Service Providers should also provide a budget breakdown of what they will be doing
  • A profile (or CVs) of the Evaluation team should be provided along with references, and examples of previous work.
  • The successful Service Provider will commence the evaluation in June 2018 including design, fieldwork, interviews, data cleaning and analysis, draft report and final presentation and report.
  • The draft report should be submitted for presentation at the October 2018 FNB Fund meeting, and the Committee will provide comment and feedback.
  • Produce a Draft Report, an Executive Summary of the Evaluation, and a Final Report, taking into account comment and feedback from Tshikululu Social Investments and an edited version of the Final Report that does not disclose the identity of key stakeholders involved in the Evaluation.
Expertise required
The Service Provider should have solid knowledge and experience of working in the Tertiary Education Sector, and a proven track-record of conducting evaluations for Funders.

Role and responsibilities of Tshikululu Social Investments NPC

Tshikululu is responsible for the following:

  • Providing the Service Provider with background information relating to the organisation
  • Facilitate TEP subcommittee member (s) interviews for the purpose of providing a context of the programme
  • A brief introduction of the Service Provider to the key stakeholders of the FNB Fund
  • Provide all necessary programme documentation required by the Service Provider
  • Proposal submission deadline:  22 May 2018
  • Proposals assessment completed: 25 May 2018
  • Preliminary Shortlisting Presentation: 4 June 2018
  • Final Shortlisting Presentation to FNB Board: 6 June 2018
  • Anticipated start date of activities: 13 June 2018
  • First Draft of Evaluation: 15 October 2018           
  • Final Evaluation: 28 October 2018
Contractual arrangements 
Tshikululu Social Investments is responsible for contracting the Service Provider and paying for the professional fees.

Contract award criteria
Tshikululu welcomes proposals from Service Providers or consultants who meet the requirements set forth in these terms of reference. Proposals should include an introduction and a motivation on why they are qualified and capable to undertake and complete all aspects of project described in these terms of reference.
Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

Quality of proposal

  • Relevance of the proposal the challenges to be addressed Clear work plan with realistic milestones
  • Monitoring and Evaluation plan and an explicit Theory of Change
  • Clear deliverables
Details of Service Provider
  • Professional expertise in conducting Evaluations in the Tertiary Education Sector;
  • Resources and skills of the team;
  • Monitoring and Evaluation experience;
  • Past experience in working with Foundations;
  • Past experience with Bursary Programmes
  • BEE credentials
  • Reasonable and competitive
Completed proposals, together with supporting documents, should be sent to
Please submit all proposals no later than 22 May 2018 5:00 pm. Proposals received after the closing date will not be considered.

Tshikululu reserves the right not to award this contract, in whole or in part.
Request to FNB Fund:

  • The Fund has approved that this evaluation by conducted by an external service provider based on the magnitude of the evaluation. As such, Tshikululu is requesting the Fund to make a provisional budget approval of between R500 000 and R850 000 for the external evaluation. Recommendations will be brought to the Fund based on this budget.
  • The sub-committee is requested to provide input into this TOR.

Proposals should be submitted to Thandeka Rantsi at and cc

For more about the Tshikululu Social Investments, refer to

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