All council meetings we attended demonstrate that community monetary contributions are of utmost importance and concern. On the one hand, councils face the difficulty of collecting contributions from parents who are already living in poverty.
On the other hand, in order to prosper with autonomy, they must raise money to reap substantial benefits. In this connection, their new economic responsibilities virtually force them to harass their neighbours for support regardless of financial ability. When school systems are decentralized and SBM is established, there is an increased possibility of increased resource disparities between schools. It is essential for central governments to ensure that resources are equalized across different income levels and that opportunities for equal access are created.
Most OECD countries have accessible and reliable data to assist governments in identifying schools and communities in need and targeting resources appropriately. This is often not the case in developing countries. Many client countries do not have readily available and reliable formal information about school performance or SES of communities.
Even within these constraints, it is essential to 1 acknowledge the need for compensatory schemes and 2 establish them within the design and implementation framework of SBM reforms. Targeted resources and assistance have been instituted to ensure that all schools have the potential to succeed see Chicago case for more information. Many studies have addressed the need for SBM initiatives to consider the equity implications of the reform. Bray 33 noted the importance of local leadership and government support in addressing equity issues.
He stated that his:. Survey of experiences in different countries shows that many communities do have leaders who are sensitive to the needs of the poorest. The question then becomes how such practices can be encouraged. The answer partly lies in raising awareness at the school and community level of the consequences of not making allowances for the poorest.
Governments can also assist communities by pointing out some of the mechanisms for assisting the poor. In response to the need to ensure that all schools had access to adequate financing, the government created an innovative equity financing scheme:. TFEA is not tied to any particular school activity. All schools are ranked by decile i. TFEA funding is available to decile schools. The rating is reviewed automatically every five years and can also be reviewed once per year if schools believe their SES make-up has changed significantly e.
Decentralizing authority to schools often creates less demand for a large central education office. For example, in New Zealand and Chicago, a series of supporting agencies have been established to support assessment, monitoring, and accountability functions. For example, although the Spanish decentralization was motivated by political reasons, central tasks were decentralized to the regions. In addition, the proximity of the resources to the school can be said to created more efficient delivery of services and a greater understanding of local needs and context.
Decentralization requires that clear, measurable standards are established. It is important to create pathways for monitoring the implementation and activities of local or private providers to ensure adequate provision. For example, Chicago attempted to create efficiencies by privatizing the delivery of support to failing schools to private contractors.
One evaluation of this process found that many schools were not satisfied with the level of delivery and assistance they had received. As a result, more stringent standards were established to govern the delivery of assistance. Wohlsetter 60 provides a comprehensive guide to the key design elements of a comprehensive SBM reforms, including:. Vision : Establish a clear vision of designed outcomes.
National goals : Create focused goals that demand excellence. Centralized Policy Guidelines : Establish clear centralized policy standards that provide guidelines for schools. Leadership : Strong school level leadership and political support and leadership from top.
Capacity building : Training and support of principals, teachers and council members is crucial to SBM success. Equity : Initial and compensatory and reactive strategies to ensure equitable funding to schools. Gershberg 28 suggests three functions that should be maintained by the central government to encourage parental participation are:. Interestingly, many of the SBM reforms of the s Chicago, NZ, etc have included many of the aforementioned parental involvement supports and have still not succeeded in creating universally acknowledged reform achievements. Designing SBM for Equity.
Equitable participation. Elenud Roberts-Schwietzer 41 governments give guidance and support to ensure representative participation on school councils. In turn, educational leaders need to address issues that might exclude certain groups from participating in community-based SBM.
Equity Financing. Based on his work on New Zealand, Fiske 42 suggests that equity issues should be addressed during the design of decentralization. SBM reforms in Chicago also had to create adaptive strategies for dealing with potential inequities in funding and achievement see above. Schools must then use these conditions to work on and improve the dimensions of schools that most directly affect student achievement-curriculum and instruction. Schaeffer and Govinda 46 also suggest that schools should have authority over their own staff.
The Missing Link in School Reform
Designing SBM for Accountability. Winkler and Gershberg 48 provide an excellent summary of designing for decentralized accountability measures. They explain,. First, intense efforts should be made to provide good information on the performance of schools and teachers, taking into account the complexity of the educational production process.
This may require establishing an independent agency to carry out external audits of schools that go beyond merely identifying outputs, and provide diagnoses of problems and propose solutions as well.
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Second, school directors should be given a large degree of authority; they have considerably better capacity to monitor school and teacher behavior than do local political agencies, including school councils. Third, teaching should be organized in a way that minimizes shirking and provides peer rewards and sanctions for performance. This requires that teachers share experiences and work together as much as possible.
Fourth, given the high risk of shirking, teachers must themselves become the proponents and owners of efforts to improve teaching, including deciding on their own training. Design advice to Ministries. Identify which roles and functions should be centrally or locally managed. Identify the percentages of the budget that should be held, generated, and managed in each site. Devolve responsibilities, at minimum to include: instruction, support for instruction and students and administration functions. Computerize the financial system or provide resources to schools for administrative support.
Design and administer an accountability system and provide adequate funding. There are many different factors that influence the successful implementation of educational reform. This section includes selected examples of key elements of SBM implementation.
Learning & Teaching
It is essential for school leaders to actively encourage staff and community to participate in the decision-making processes. Capacity Building. There appears to be consensus on the importance of providing training and support to school councils. Wohlsetter 51 explained the importance of capacity building, as follows:. First, employees need training to expand their job skills and increase the breadth of their perspective, so that they can contribute in more ways to the organization and more knowledgeably to decisions about improvements.
Secondly, individuals need teamwork skills for participating in high-involvement management: problem-solving, decision-making and communication skills. Finally, individuals need organizational knowledge. This includes budgeting and personnel skills, as well as an understanding of the environment and strategies for responding to changes in the environment. Addressing the importance of providing training for stakeholder groups, he explained,.
The Kenyan government, with assistance from UK DfID, has engaged in a major program of training and support for primary school committees. Initial evaluations of this program have already shown substantial impact. It has been reported, for example, that many more school committees now have input into school development planning, and that this has improved the feelings of ownership and community involvement. This is partly because head teachers have been trained in planning, and in management principles such as consultation and accountability.
Communities are said to trust their head teachers more, and to have better understanding of the roles of different actors. Training workshops have included sensitization on gender issues, and have also given head teachers tools for reaching out to their communities.
They suggest that their training for SBM should include instruction, curriculum, and management skills. Both the central government and local schools should allocate time for capacity building. SBM also requires a new kind of leadership. School leaders and teachers need to develop skills to be able to deal with control, independence, and collaboration.