Publications and articles
Strengthening local actors.
The path to decentralizing education - Kenya, Lesotho, Uganda.
Schooling and decentralisation. Patterns and policy implications in Francophone West Africa
Renforcer le partenariat école-communauté
How can decentralization policies be implemented successfully?
Decentralization is a popular reform but one that is complicated to implement. Behind the popularity of the concept lies a wide diversity of actual policies, as reflected in the variety of terms used – deconcentration, devolution, delegation, school-based management, school self-governance, charter schools, and so on.
For policy-makers such policies offer ways to:
- alleviate the financial burden on the state;
- ensure more efficient management;
- increase the ownership, participation and commitment by local decision-makers and parents; and
- improve education quality.
Challenges at local level
Decentralization means that local levels are on the front line of the provision of education and so will require adequate resources to implement policies decided at the central level. Studies have shown that, in many countries, fairly little is known about the challenges faced by district administrators or school leaders in trying to fulfill their mandate.
Principles for success
Based on an analysis of the challenges faced by local level actors in the implementation of a decentralization policy, research conducted by IIEP has helped to identify the following key principles for its successful implementation:
- view decentralization as first and foremost a management mode, rather than an objective ;
- make the state more effective – its role is shifting towards a focus on regulation, support, monitoring and evaluation;
- generate complementarity between the different actors involved; and
- find a balance between:
- professional-technical expertise and political legitimacy;
- local autonomy and central regulation;
- the mandate of actors and their resources, assets, and competences; and
- the professionalism, autonomy and accountability of each actor.