The use and usefulness of school grants

01 December 2012
IIEP’s research on decentralization extends to Asia


School premises in Indonesia. ©IIEP
Title Text: 
The use and usefulness of school grants
Following the success of its research programme on school grants conducted in five Eastern and Southern African countries* between 2010 and 2012 with the support of UNICEF, IIEP recently moved the focus to another region and has begun a new research programme on the same topic in Indonesia, Mongolia, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu. The purpose remains the same: examining the design and implementation of school grants policies, and investigating their impact on enrolment in schools, as well as on the quality and equity of school life. The research conducted in Africa, by focusing on how the school grant policy could be improved so as to bolster progress in access to high-quality education for all, resulted in insightful recommendations for the five Ministries of Education involved.**
Based on this fruitful experience, IIEP is again teaming up with UNICEF (through its East Asian and Pacific Regional Office [EAPRO], as well as through the national offices of the countries involved) to conduct the research in the four Asian countries.

The first months of the research have already been eventful!

From 8 to 12 October, a regional workshop was held in Jakarta (Indonesia) that brought together national teams from each of the four countries. This was an opportunity to present the general rationale and relevancy of the research to the teams, as well as to discuss and revise the research tools, adjusting them where necessary to the context of the region. The teams were also provided with the chance to test these tools, visiting six schools in the Bogor district, a one hour drive from Jakarta.
To profit from the experience gained during the initial research programme in Africa, IIEP invited two researchers from Kenyatta University (Kenya) to share their experience with their Asian colleagues.
As the programme now enters the field research phase, set to span over the next six months, pilot research missions will be organized in Mongolia, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu. The first pilot mission has already taken place in Mongolia, in early November. Together with an IIEP expert, the tools were further adapted to the local context and tested during the first visits of the team to schools. A similar exercise will be carried out in Timor-Leste and Vanuatu in early 2013.

Thinking about dissemination of research results

The national researchers have been encouraged to begin now – already at this initial phase – planning strategies for disseminating to relevant policy-makers and development partners the future results of the research. The wealth of information that will arise from the research should be shared with such decision-makers so that it may serve to inform their work. Following up on the programme in Africa, a national policy seminar will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, in late November 2012. The objective will be to discuss with national stakeholders the findings and recommendations established by the national team, and identify strategies for policy improvement. The event will be co-organized by the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Kenyatta University, IIEP and UNICEF. Lessons learned from the organization of this national policy seminar will no doubt prove valuable when the dissemination phase begins in other countries.