School-based management (SBM)

  • is the decentralization of levels of authority to the school level. Responsibility and decision-making over school operations is transferred to principals, teachers, parents, sometimes students, and other school community members. The school-level actors, however, have to conform to, or operate, within a set of centrally determined policies.
  • SBM programs take on many different forms, both in terms of who has the power to make decisions as well as the degree of decision-making devolved to the school level. While some programs transfer authority to principals or teachers only, others encourage or mandate parental and community participation, often in school committees (sometimes known as school councils). In general, SBM programs transfer authority over one or more of the following activities: budget allocation, hiring and firing of teachers and other school staff, curriculum development, textbook and other educational material procurement, infrastructure improvement, setting the school calendar to better meet the specific needs of the local community, and monitoring and evaluation of teacher performance and student learning outcomes. SBM also includes school-development plans, school grants, and sometimes information dissemination of educational results (otherwise known as ‘report cards’).

Why is school-based management important?

  • Advocates of SBM assert that it should improve educational outcomes for a number of reasons.
  • First, it improves accountability of principals and teachers to students, parents and teachers. Accountability mechanisms that put people at the center of service provision can go a long way in making services work and improving outcomes by facilitating participation in service delivery, as noted in the World Bank’s 2004 World Development Report, Making Services Work for Poor People.
  • Second, it allows local decision-makers to determine the appropriate mix of inputs and education policies adapted to local realities and needs.



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