The role of good governance in raising education provision performance is important and provides a useful entry point for discussions of policy, programs, and implementation. Considerable work exists on how to design sound education programs – quality of inputs and budget and financial management for example. Much of that knowledge informs countries’ education agendas. However, the challenge of translating those concepts into functioning and effective education systems is a harder and more complicated step. It moves into the realm of political economy to align the interests of different stakeholders, and ensure that they face the appropriate incentives and accountabilities to perform as intended.
The gap between good ideas and evidence-based programs on the one hand, and education performance and outcomes on the other, is often significant. The governance agenda focuses on the elements of implementation, the factors that drive performance and make sound technical designs successful in a public context. In effect, good governance offers tools for the middle-ground between program design and its execution.
This paper provides a definition of good governance in education and a framework for thinking about governance issues as a way of improving performance in the education sector. Performance indicators are proposed that offer the potential for comparison, and whose collection is not overly complex or costly, and that have relevance at the national level as well as at the school level. These indicators, when available, are useful tools for cross-country comparisons and for tracking relative education performance, and provide the context for the discussion of good governance and performance in education.
The crucial elements for good governance and high performance include standards, incentives, information, and accountability, all of which support implementation. The paper reviews budget and financial management issues; examines human resource policies and performance; discusses the issues surrounding informal payments for education services; and briefly summarizes the evidence on corruption perceptions in education. This review of ideas and evidence is intended to contribute to the design of projects, and assessment of options for improving education service delivery performance.
While virtually none of the indicators or evidence applies to all countries, they provide a basis for measuring performance. Experiences from other countries are useful in designing programs or conducting analytic work where performance is an issue. This paper is not meant as a catalogue of the possible but rather as an effort to define and analyze the governance and performance issues in education while realizing that much more work needs to be done to understand how to raise education sector performance.
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Annex 1. SELECT AGGREGATE GOVERNANCE INDICATORS
Governance encompasses multiple aspects. These include the capacity of the government to formulate sound policies, manage resources, and provide services efficiently; the effective processes that allow citizens to select, hold accountable, monitor, and replace government; and the respect of government and citizens for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions. Kaufmann, Kraay, and Mastruzzi (2007) break these down into six specific areas: voice and accountability; government effectiveness; control of corruption; regulatory quality; rule of law; and political stability and absence of violence. Of the six, the first four are directly relevant to good governance in education.
Voice and accountability captures the extent to which a country’s citizens are able to participate in the selection of their government, as well as the extent to which public institutions are held accountable. It allows citizens to express their preferences and be involved in the decision-making processes. This dimension also covers freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the presence of a free media. In education, a system with a high level of accountability, one possessing checks and balances; transparent decision-making; access to information; and effective monitoring and evaluation, can improve resource management, reduce corruption, and enhance public service delivery, and ultimately, improve education quality.
Government effectiveness is reflected in the quality of policy formulation and implementation, the effectiveness of public service delivery, the quality of the civil service, and the degree of policy independence from political pressures. In education, this dimension is concerned with, for example, the efficiency of education systems in areas such as licensing requirements; hiring procedures for teachers and school administrators; and the presence and enforcement of national and local statutes on delivering quality education for all.
Control of corruption captures the extent to which there are checks to ensure that public power is not abused for private gain or that there is no “capture” of the state by elites and private interests. In the education sector, forms of corruption include but are not limited to nepotism; purchasing of posts; irregularities in the procurement of education supplies and facilities; bribery in admission and examination; and teacher absenteeism.
1 Equity in access to education is not discussed in this paper.
2 Ackerman distinguishes accountability from transparency and responsiveness, which have elements of importance but are not substitutes for accountability.
3 At the time of writing, PEFA assessments had been carried out in 100 countries, out of which about 40 assessments are publicly available.
4 The PEFA indicators are rated from A (best) to D with + modifiers, here we have converted them into numerical values for ease of exposition.
5 For access to available PETS by country see http://go.worldbank.org/HSQUS4IS20. Also see Savedoff (2008).
6 High-performing countries are those whose eight-graders performed as well or better than American students on mathematics or science in TIMMS 1999; these countries were Australia, England, Japan, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands and Singapore.
7 These are perceptions so attention should mainly be paid to relative rankings rather than magnitude.
8 In Mexico all public school teachers are unionized (Alvarez, Moreno, and Patrinos 2007).
9 In UP, 85 percent of all primary and secondary school teachers working in state-funded schools (government and aided) are unionized based on a survey of 570 teachers in rural primary and secondary schools in five districts in UP conducted by Kingdon and Muzammil (forthcoming). The extent of union influence is reflected in the trend or real wages for teachers; between 1973 and 1996 real wages for teachers grew at an annual rate of 5 percent compared to a real growth rate of 3 percent per year of GDP per capita.
10 PROHECO stands for Proyecto Hondureño de Educación Comunitaria.
11 Indirect costs stem from the opportunity cost of students’ time and the potential loss of human capital due to missed instruction. While estimates of these indirect costs do not currently exist, they are arguably large.
12 In a study of Pakistan, private school teachers were found to be absent 1.8 days per month compared to 3.2 days for public school teachers (Das, Pandey, and Zajonc 2006). Wages of public sector teachers in Uganda are 60 percent higher than those of private sector teachers (World Bank 2007c).
13 A valid day is one in which the start and end of the day photos are separated by at minimum of five hours, and a minimum number of children are shown in both photos.
14 For the sub-sample of students who were not taught by the same teacher over the two years there was no statistically significant relationship between teacher absenteeism and student learning.
15 The sample consisted of a representative sample of 300 rural, government schools with 100 schools in each treatment (individual- and group-based) school and 100 schools in the control group (Muralidharan and Sundararaman 2008).
16 These included Benin, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Colombia, Bosnia, Latvia, Russia, and Egypt.
17 Citizen report card surveys are based on stratified, random sampling to make sure that results are representative of the underlying population.
18 Students in schools that offer private tutoring score approximately 0.1 standard deviations lower on the national secondary exam.