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Nicaraguas Experiment to Decentralize Schools : Views of Parents, Teachers, And Directors

By Magdalena Rivarola Harvard University

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Book Id: WPLBN0000043644
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.3 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: Nicaraguas Experiment to Decentralize Schools : Views of Parents, Teachers, And Directors  
Author: Magdalena Rivarola Harvard University
Language: English
Subject: Economics, Finance & business, World Bank.
Collections: Economics Publications Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: The World Bank


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Harvard University, M. R. (n.d.). Nicaraguas Experiment to Decentralize Schools : Views of Parents, Teachers, And Directors. Retrieved from


The Nicaraguan Government in 1993 began to grant management and budgetary ?autonomy? to selected secondary schools. Today, all secondary and many primary schools have been pulled into the decentralization initiative. By 1995 the Ministry of Education, with support from the World Bank, had committed to conducting a thorough formative evaluation of this bold experiment in partially delinking local schools from the central Ministry. This paper reports initial findings from the process evaluation -- based on qualitative evidence drawn from 12 schools -- as one component of the Ministry?s overall evaluation effort. This paper does not attempt to answer the broad question, Is decentralization working well? Instead, this study analyzes how parents, teachers, and school directors are interpreting and implementing the substantial decentralization of management. Drawing from over 80 completed interviews and focus groups, we attempted to classify the positive, disinterested, and negative reports of school staff and parents about how autonomy is playing out inside their schools. From this inventory of salient issues, we pursued distinct lines of analysis that speak to three basic questions: How does a school?s history and community condition how school autonomy is implemented? Schools have had fairly institutionalized patterns of authority and leadership, long before the advent of decentralized governance. We heard much about how autonomia fell onto the micropolitics and social norms that lend cohesion or chaos inside the school organization. -- How do parents, teachers, school directors actively interpret and make meaning around the Ministry?s school autonomy initiative? We report how different elements of autonomia come to be viewed as more salient than others: parents? worries about rising student fees, or teachers? focus on how to improve student progress, for example. -- What the major points of success, resistance or indifference as decentralized governance unfolds in autonomous schools? Our research focuses on four major issues: parents? participation; the altered character of school management and leadership; shifts in school-level financing and spending; and how pedagogical practices and classrooms are touched by autonomia.


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