March 11, 2015
Written by Candy Lugaz, IIEP
A growing number of studies demonstrate that the management of a school, the relationships between the different school actors (principal, teachers, community), and the school’s own involvement in defining and evaluating its improvement, all have a profound impact on the quality of education.
This has led many countries to give schools more autonomy in their own management.
Schools which formerly had very little say in financial management now receive grants directly from the central authorities. Educational management theories assume that grants will have other advantages resulting in less bureaucracy, fewer leakages in the distribution of funds, and more appropriate and selective use of funds by schools for their self-improvement, as well as a greater impact if more money reaches disadvantaged schools. Finally, grants may influence school-community relations and enhance school autonomy and capacity.
In collaboration with UNICEF and GPE, the International Institute for Educational Planning has launched a comprehensive research on the design and implementation of school grant policies, and how grants are used by schools. The research seek to uncover the realities of such “popular” educational policies by examining how they were perceived, interpreted, and put into practice by school-level stakeholders in different contexts.
The research also found that, overall, school grants have had a mixed contribution on the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning. School grants have helped ensure the availability of basic-level resources in schools, improved the quality of the school environment, and contributed to increased motivation among teachers and students. These are positive and useful outcomes, but we must ask whether or not these factors are the ones that contribute most to sustainable quality improvement.