Improving quality education through community participation

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Posted on:29-06-12

Ministries of education worldwide have promoted community engagement in education with the goal of ultimately improving learning. One  vehicle for such engagement has been school committees, generally including a combination of parents, teachers, school officials and community members.  But how successful have these school committees been in improving the quality of education in schools? How best should the engagement of committees with the schools be fashioned to ensure better quality? Does giving grants work better than training committee members or are we barking up the wrong tree by focussing on these interventions? Is there something else that works better?

A paper titled "Improving Educational Quality through Enhancing Community Participation: Results from a Randomized Field Experiment in Indonesia" attempts to answer these questions. Four different interventions at improving community participation have been evaluated in this paper. Two of them focus on institutional reforms - First, with the goal of increasing school committee legitimacy, some schools implemented elections of school committee members. Second, in order to strengthen links with external stakeholders, facilitators supported a planning process between school committees and democratically-elected village councils (called linkage). The other two focussed on grants and training.

What do you think the results are? Which worked better? We won't play a guessing game, but encourage you to read the paper.