| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
School-based management in Bener Meriah was implemented as follows:
1. Capacity building of school staff, and revitalisation of school committees
2. Establishment of multi-stakeholder forum – Forum Peduli Pendidikan Bener Meriah (Education Care Forum in Bener Meriah/FPPBM) – at the district level
3. Conducting of complaint surveys at each school, with guidance from local facilitators:
Questionnaires were distributed to parents, students and community members to measure their satisfaction with school services and identify problems
The school committees and schools analyzed the complaints and developed public complaints indexes. Then, they made a list of priority (most-filed) complaints and identified resources to address the problems
The schools developed and published service charters (a pledge for improvements) and technical recommendations for the DEO (as an aid proposal for the issues that are beyond the schools’ capacity); both were signed by the principals and school committee heads
The schools incorporated the pledges into its planning and budgeting, with the assistance of the MSF
Monitoring and evaluation of schools’ responses to complaint surveys was carried out by the school committees, and at the district level by the MSF. The MSF also worked together with the DEO to incorporate technical recommendations from school proposals into its budget and plans.
The process was supported by citizen journalists who discussed SBM implementation and minimum service standards through radio and news coverage.
As reflected in the chronology above, the strategy to implement SPM involved the following phases:
1. Revitalizing school committees:
The DEO and PKPM revitalized existing school committees by involving them in the school improvement process: identifying and analyzing problems, finding and mobilizing resources, providing recommendations, and monitoring and evaluation. The strong co-operation between schools and community members is reflected in the complaint survey and weekly meetings to discuss the progress in handling public complaints.
2. Capacity building for school staff:
School staff, including principals and teachers, were provided with the skills needed to support transparency with regard to school information, budgets, and workplans. School staff were trained on what information can be shared with citizens and why; on Minimum Service Standards for education; and on the benefits of opening up processes to allow the participation of school committees.
3. Establishing the multi-stakeholder forum:
The DEO recognized the importance of having a multi-stakeholder forum, so they assisted in establishing one at the district level, consisting of community leaders, NGOs, journalists, teachers, legislators, and government staff. The forum was involved in addressing the complaint survey.
4. Complaint handling mechanisms:
The schools utilized complaint handling mechanisms to improve their accountability, reliability and transparency. The service charters – the schools’ pledges for improvement – and complaint boxes/SMS hotlines help the schools and community members to evaluate education services on continuous basis.
5. Citizen oversight and continuous monitoring and evaluation:
Monitoring and evaluation on SBM implementation was conducted by the multi-stakeholder forum and school committees, and supported by citizen journalists in publishing results. The community also evaluated whether the schools and DEO had fulfilled their pledges, and encouraged them to do so if they had not, in addition to advocating to schools to meet Minimum Service Standards.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The key government stakeholders involved in the initiative’s implementation have allowed the program to be implemented with the community’s active participation. It shows that efforts to encourage public participation can have a big impact on achieving a shared goal of an improved and better-quality education service.
The key stakeholders were:
• District Education Office
DEO is the leading technical office in implementing SPM and is instrumental in creating policies and budgets that have direct impacts on formal education. DEO also provides day-to-day assistance to schools in implementing SPM through its local facilitators.
• Local People’s Representative Council (DPRK)
A number of council members are part of the district multi-stakeholder forum. Their role is to supervise the DEO’s program as well as to approve policies as well as district plans and budgets.
• Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
NGOs such as PKPM and Sepakat play important roles in strengthening the community. They share their knowledge, skills and experiences in advocacy and oversight of public services delivery with the school committees and multi-stakeholder forum. PKPM also assists the schools to conduct complaint surveys and take follow-up steps.
Mainstream media outlets, particularly newspapers and radio stations such as Lintas Gayo, Waspada and RRI, as well as citizen journalists using citizen-run and social media were significant. They published articles and discussed problems in order to raise public awareness on school-based management.
• Community members
Involvement of a wider range of community members, such as village chiefs, local religious figures, and youth groups, and NGOs added value to the program’s achievements. They are some of the parties who provided crucial feedback, mainly on how to increase participation of students guardians and community. The school principal also played an important role to improve school governance, mobilize school stakeholders to support the program and provide more space for public participation.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Each party involved in the SBM program contributed to the financing and implementation. The DEO, multi-stakeholder forum, district administration and parents all provided assistance to the initiative.
1. The DEO provided IDR 100,000,000 (US$8,696) in 2013 and IDR 112,000,000 (US$9,739) in 2014 to execute the program. Furthermore, it allocated IDR 200,000,000 (US$17,391) in 2015 to support the program implementation in its current districts and further expansion.
2. As a response to the complaint survey, the DEO also contributed IDR 1.05 billion (US$91,305) from its 2014 budget. The money was mainly used to build school facilities, such as extra classrooms for schools in need. This contribution is fulfilled after advocacy by the multi-stakeholder forum, Forum Peduli Pendidikan Bener Meriah, in accordance with the complaints survey results.
3. Complementing the DEO’s financial assistance, school committees from several schools have collected voluntary contributions from the parents to improve the school facilities. For example, parents of students of MIN Janarata, one of the primary schools in the district, contributed IDR 20,307,000 (US$1,766) to add paving blocks to the school yard as a respond to the community’s complaints about the wet yard. In SMPN 2 Wih Pesam, another secondary school, the parents and community members made voluntary contributions in the amount of IDR 20,045,000 (US$1,473) to repair toilets as well as to fund national exit exam preparation for the final grade students. The parents also provide manpower to repair the school’s infrastructure.
4. PKPM received grants from USAID-Kinerja to increase community forum participation and to assist schools and DEO in drafting a work program and a budget responsive to the community needs in the amount of IDR 723,935,000 (US$62,951). The organization also contributed self-generated funds of IDR 128,620,000 (US$11,185) to support the program.
5. Sepakat received grants from USAID-Kinerja to strengthen the multi-stakeholder forum in the amount of IDR 799,930,000 (US$69,560) to build advocacy and monitoring capacity of the multi-stakeholder forum.
6. In order to motivate more schools to adopt the initiative, the district administration provided rewards for the best-performing schools in 2013 and 2014. The rewards amounted to IDR 30,000,000 (US$2,609).
In addition to the financial support above, community members contributed in-kind for the program during the implementation phase (both first and second year), such as through providing meals and transportation during the school and community meetings.
Community participation has notably been increasing during the program implementation as a result of increased good relations and maintained trust between the school and the community.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The five concrete outputs that contributed to the success of the initiatives are as follows:
1. Instruction letter from the DEO instructing all schools in the district to adopt school-based management. This letter encourages schools to apply good governance principles to its management.
2. Decision Letter of the Head of District Education Office, No. 421/1946/2012 amended on April 7 2014, No. 421/477/Dikbud/2014 on the Appointment of Local Facilitators for School-Based Management. This policy supports local facilitators to perform their duties in providing day-to-day assistance to schools in implementing SBM. The facilitators, who are also government staff, are important assets for the program. With their experiences in program implementation, the facilitators will greatly support in replicating the program to more schools.
3. Application of Minimum Service Standards by DEO and schools as a guidance and measurement for performance of education-related service delivery. Education standards were previously poorly-measured as teachers and principals were not trained on understanding the standards, what they mean on the ground, and what can be done to achieve them.
4. Service charters and technical recommendations document the schools’ pledges for improvements and the recommendations made to DEO. Over two years of implementation, 20 schools have developed service charters and submitted technical recommendations to the district office; ten others will submit the documents in December 2014. Based on monitoring conducted by the MSF, 87% of the school pledges have been fulfilled.
5. The budgets and workplans of schools and the DEO now incorporate solutions to the problems identified in the complaint surveys. These documents serve as evidence that the schools and the DEO are committed to fulfill their pledges. At the same time, the community members can use the documents, which are displayed at the schools, to monitor the improvement progress.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The monitoring and evaluation process of this initiative involved many different stakeholders: DEO staff, local facilitators, MSF, NGOs, media, and members of the local representative council. Evaluation is conducted periodically – bi-weekly, quarterly and annually.
The evaluation process started with the development of evaluation tools, including determining indicators, by DEO, schools, and MSF. The evaluation’s aim was to assess the schools’ progress in addressing survey results, their achievements against nationally-mandated minimum service standards, and the level of public participation.
To complement scheduled evaluations, the DEO conducted impromptu visits to schools to assess how well the schools were implementing the program, as well as to motivate them.
The schools, DEO staff, local facilitators and MSF formed an evaluation team and now conduct internal evaluations every two weeks. They discuss the challenges that they face in implementing SBM and seek solutions. The involvement of the DEO in internal meetings is an effective way to gain the government’s support, as the schools do not need to go through long bureaucratic processes and spend excessive amounts of time to communicate their problems.
In order to raise the program’s accountability, the evaluation team engaged the members of local representative council and citizen journalists in quarterly monitoring and evaluation. They visited the schools, observed its improvements, and interviewed the principal, school staff and students about the progress and gaps. In addition, they also assessed if the school displays its workplans and budgets. Through this evaluation, the community was able to see proof of school improvements, and the local representative council could better monitor the district budget use.
For the annual evaluation, the DEO, school staff, and MSF jointly conducted a comprehensive assessment on program strategy. Based on the evaluation results, the DEO and MSF amended their workplans to address the challenges.
In addition to the periodic evaluation mentioned above, the schools and school committees conduct weekly meetings to discuss complaints that parents, community members and students file through complaint boxes and SMS hotlines. Then, they communicate the answers to each complaint during parents’ meetings and via SMS.
Community members also conduct ad-hoc monitoring of school programs. The people often also provide feedback to the schools at parent meetings. This feedback adds to the information the schools use in developing their workplans and budgets.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Naturally, there were problems encountered during SBM implementation, but ways to overcome them were found:
1. One of the biggest challenges facing this program was the low level of public participation at the beginning of implementation. A long history of not being involved in any government programs made people initially feel apathetic to the initiative. However this barrier has been addressed by engaging with agents of change – including community figures, active school committee members, and local NGOs – and conducting intensive awareness-raising activities on the importance of public participation to improve education quality. This approach has proven highly-effective – two years after the initiative was launched, 20 pilot schools have active school committees, and a district-level MSF has been established. These two community forums make significant contributions to school improvements by allowing parents and other community members to put forward their complaints and suggestions for improvement and to actively contribute to improving the school environment.
2. On the supply side, the schools’ lack of understanding about good governance (especially transparency, accountability, responsiveness, and participation) in education was the major barrier of program implementation. The schools were not open to receiving input from the public, and this caused the community to retreat and become even less involved. To address this challenge, DEO and PKPM conducted intensive meetings with the schools to discuss the benefits of transparency and accountability for public service providers. This approach was supported with a letter from DEO that instructs schools to implement the program of school-based management based on the principles of good governance. This approach gradually improved the school-community partnerships, to the point where they were able to work together to overcome problems in education provision in Bener Meriah.