Community-based accountability for school improvement: a case study from rural India

Autor(es): Latham, Michael; S. Galab; Jones, Charlotte; Churches, Richard

Organisation(s): CfBT Education Trust (UK)

Publisher(s): CfBT Education Trust (UK)

Date: 2013

Pages: 50 p.


This report looks at community-based accountability and parental participation as a lever for school improvement in rural India. It reviews a case study project in Andhra Pradesh, originally funded by the Department for International Development, which was set up in the context of failures in primary education access and quality across the state. The project used a novel approach to improve primary school standards: the training of illiterate mothers to inspect and report on local school quality using a simple traffic-light scorecard process. This is an important case study for education policymakers as they turn their attention to the potential of community-based accountability to drive school improvements. The judicious use of this ‘short route’ of accountability is seen as a way of increasing ‘return’ without greatly increasing expenditure: a cost-effective way of driving basic school improvements in resource-poor settings (World Bank, 2004; Bruns et al., 2011). This case study research gathers some valuable insights for policymakers by capturing these improvement forces in action: • How and why did schools become more accountable to parents and School Management Committees (SMCs)? How did the SMCs change and get better at holding schools to account? • What is the evidence for improved school quality? • Which kind of social shifts underpinned successful community-based accountability reforms e.g. how did the parent-school relationship change and what did ‘parental empowerment’ look like? • What are the contextual factors which made this intervention powerful? • What were the critical success factors for this project from which other policymakers can learn?

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