School-Based Management
Bener Meriah Education Office

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Since Indonesia was hit by social, economic, and political crisis in 1998, the Indonesian government has undergone major reforms in numerous sectors, including education, as it attempts to build the capacity of the country’s human resources. Despite the fact that the education reformation began over ten years ago, education throughout the archipelago remains unstandardized and quality remains low. Based on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 results, which measures students’ knowledge and skills in mathematics, reading, science and problem solving, Indonesia was one of the lowest achievers. Without good-quality education, Indonesia’s citizens will not be able to fully participate in modern societies. Bener Meriah, a district in Aceh province, is one area where Indonesia’s education system has been performing poorly. Emerging from 30 years of civil war and recovering from the 2004 tsunami, the district has been struggling to catch up with other districts. With a total population of 125,076 spread across urban and mountain areas, only 50 percent of the population has completed their basic education, while just 25 percent went to secondary schools. Based on data from Aceh provincial administration in 2010/2011, the average passing scores of students graduating from primary and secondary schools were below standard. One factor causing this issue was that quality education was not accessible for all of Bener Meriah’s residents. Students coming from wealthier families have opportunities to continue their study in other cities, and often do not return home upon graduation. Students from poorer families are forced to study within Bener Meriah, or to drop out of school to work due to lack of good education opportunities. Insufficient public participation has contributed to poor education services. In the past, education in Bener Meriah was controlled exclusively by the schools and the district education office; the community was not involved in planning, development, or evaluation. This long history of being uninvolved has caused community apathy as well as a lack of knowledge of their rights to be engaged in contributing to the government’s programs. As a result, the policies and programs developed by the district education office (DEO) were not based on evidence and did not meet the community’s expectations in terms of teaching quality, facilities, and infrastructure. To address this issue, the DEO took a two-pronged approach. Firstly, piloted school-based management (SBM) in 20 Bener Meriah schools in 2012, and later rolled out the program to an additional ten schools with the support of a local education NGO called PKPM (Pusat Kajian Pendidikan dan Masyarakat / Center for Education and Community Studies). SBM allows more involvement from parents and community members in schools’ planning and budgeting, and encourages more transparency and accountability from schools. Secondly, through public engagement, the district education office supported schools and community forums in conducting complaint surveys, where students, parents and community members were asked about their satisfaction and to identify gaps. The DEO also worked together with the schools and community forums to develop service charters to address the issues identified in the survey.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Bener Meriah DEO first became interested in implementing school-based management after a comparative study visit to Probolinggo in East Java. They were impressed when they saw how public participation could improve the quality of education services. The Bener Meriah DEO decided to pilot SBM in 20 schools, using the Probolinggo program as a base for their implementation, but adapting it to their own needs as required. Parents and community members were actively engaged by the DEO and schools so that they would want to become involved in school management. After being evaluated as having had a positive impact on the pilot schools, SBM was expanded to ten additional schools in 2014, and further expansion is planned for 2015. The first step of this initiative was to shift the perception of school stakeholders and community members about community-government partnerships and to encourage people to believe that together they could achieve a common goal of quality education in Bener Meriah. This step was taken to address the long history of weak public participation, when schools were not happy to receive community feedback. Together with local NGO PKPM, DEO raised awareness among school stakeholders (principals, teachers, school supervisors, and school committee members) about the importance of public participation. Awareness-raising activities included revitalizing school committees so that they could act as community representatives, and encouraging school supervisors to be more involved in school planning and implementation, as well as in overseeing program delivery. After some initial hesitance, the school committees and teachers became closer. PKPM assisted the schools to introduce complaint handling mechanisms as an attempt to measure satisfaction of service users (students, parents, community members) and to follow up on complaints. At the beginning of SBM implementation, the school obtained public feedback only through complaint surveys, but later on, they also developed complaint boxes and SMS hotlines to enable faster complaint submission and response giving. Following the compilation of the results of complaint surveys, the schools and school committees came together to analyze the complaints and identify resources to address them. The schools’ commitment to improve their services was put into a pledge for improvement, known as a service charter, which was signed by the school principal, the school committee, and the DEO. The issues which were beyond the schools’ capacity were submitted to the DEO in the form of technical recommendations and lobbied for implementation with the local parliament. A multi-stakeholder forum (MSF) was formed at the district level – consisting of parents, community leaders, journalists, NGOs, and school and DEO staff – to oversee the schools and DEO in fulfilling their pledges. At the school level, the school committees monitor the schools in fulfilling the service charters and provide feedback to solve the issues. In several cases, the school committees also help the schools to obtain financial support and other contributions from community members. In order to build the capacity of the district MSF in performing its oversight and advocacy roles, the DEO, partnered with another local NGO, Sepakat. This organization provided the forum members with advocacy techniques as well as monitoring and evaluation tools. The MSF advocated to the local parliament and district planning body to allocate funding to DEO to fulfill the improvement recommendations that the schools had formulated following the complaint surveys – the DEO has allocated over 1 billion rupiah (over US$91,000) in funds to meet the recommendations, including building new classrooms and other facilities. Citizen journalists complement the efforts of the MSF, publishing and discussing information in various media including social media, radio talk shows and newspapers to raise awareness on education problems in Bener Meriah.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This initiative is unique because it involved both service providers and service users, and established a strong partnership between both actors. It is the first program of its kind to be implemented at the school level in Bener Meriah. This initiative encouraged schools to: • Conduct continuous self-assessment through complaint mechanisms (complaint surveys, complaint boxes and SMS hotlines) to complement the school’s periodic evaluations. • Be able to develop responsive, needs-based workplans through consultation with community forums. • See students and parents as stakeholders in education, rather than passive recipients of school services. • Increase schools’ transparency by displaying their workplans and budgets. • Implement and meet Minimum Service Standards. This initiative allowed the DEO to: • Accurately map data on achievements and gaps in each school, which helps DEO to respond to local needs and implement evidence-based education policies and programs. • Improve overall education management in schools. This initiative strengthened communities (parents, citizen journalists, community leaders, and others) to: • Use complaint mechanisms to raise their concerns about school services. • To develop service charters and technical recommendations that help schools and DEO to oversee the quality of the education they provide. • Participate in school planning to create healthy and friendly learning environments for their children.

C. Execution and Implementation

 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. • Media 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.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The school-based management program in Bener Meriah has shown good results so far. Principally the impacts can be seen in the following aspects. 1. Benefits for Local Government: a. Availability of accurate data on the quality of school services: Previously, DEO did not have accurate data on education quality and services in each individual school. Now, complaint handling mechanisms, which aim to measure service users’ satisfaction, help the DEO to understand the real situations and challenges that each school faces. Utilizing this data, the DEO is able to develop evidence-based policies to respond the community’s needs. b. Optimizing school supervision: Before SBM was introduced, there was no transparent mechanism to oversee the schools’ programs, plans and budgets. Through developing a system of school-based management along with the introduction of minimum service standards, school committees and school supervisors can easily access the school’s plans, as well as monitor spending and achievement. c. Local government now better understands the importance of community involvement in public service delivery. This will improve the sustainability and continuity of SBM. d. Involvement of the local representative council in each program phase: Learning how budget allocations can be used for targeted school improvements, the local representative house increased the budget for education programs by 30% in 2013 compared with 2012 levels. In addition, the council signed extra budget allocations amounting to IDR 1.05 billion (US$91,000) to build school facilities as suggested by the schools and community through technical recommendations. e. With DEO replicating the program from 20 pilot schools to 30 schools and ultimately to all schools, Bener Meriah is much more likely to develop standardized education services and achieve the nationally-mandated service standards. f. The local facilitators are important resources for assisting the DEO to continue this program and assist replicating schools. Participating in the program for more than two years, the facilitators have gained substantial knowledge, skills and experiences that they can share with new schools. g. This program has increased the public trust in government institutions, as residents can see the government actively working to fulfill the public’s needs. 2. Impact for the public: a. Community members have more opportunities to participate in government services. Through community-based initiatives, such as MSF and citizen journalism, community members have more channels to communicate their public service concerns. In addition, complaint surveys, suggestion boxes and SMS hotlines function as tools to monitor the school services. b. The community better understands their rights to receive quality public services, following the exposure to SPM and good practices. Capacity building has helped community members to use their advocacy skills to better participate in improving government programs. c. There is increased public participation and ownership of the schools’ and DEO’s programs. Seeing that the government listens to public inputs, more community members now understand that government programs are designed for the sake of the people. c. Impacts for Schools a. One particular impact is that of increased student performance, which is measured through the average score achieved on the national exam. The average score of SDN Gegerung – a pilot school – increased from 7.37 in 2012 to 8.74 in 2013; SDN Pante Raya 2 – another pilot school – leaped from being 28th best-achieving school in the district to 1st in 2013. b. This initiative promotes schools’ transparency, responsiveness and accountability. Implementing complaint handling mechanisms and displaying schools’ budgets and workplans enables the community to oversee services. c. A strong partnership between schools, DEO, and community members opens up access to external funding for schools. Although schools receive budgets from the DEO, the funds are not enough to cover all challenges that the schools are facing. Therefore, the community’s financial and in-kind contributions are significant in improving services. d. Another impact is improved discipline and professionalism of teachers. School-based management targets developing teachers’ skills because they work on the ‘front-line’ of education services. Therefore, the schools (with support from the community) provide incentives to well-performing teachers. d. Impacts for Students a. SBM assisted in creating safe and comfortable learning environments for students, enabling the students to learn better and achieve more. b. Teachers work better, and are more prepared to provide better education, as a result of increased focus on their teaching by the community.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
This initiative is sustainable for three main reasons: (1) it has a basis in a district regulation; (2) it has improved the public’s feeling of involvement in the education provided in their community; and (3) it has brought about a change in mindset of teachers and encouraged improved performance. Being developed following the introduction of a district regulation means that there is a strong legal basis for the program. The initiative has maximized the role of both the schools and the school committees in providing education that meets national minimum service standards. The regulation was created as a result of an intensive discussion between the DEO and citizens, and has broad ownership from the community. In terms of the social and economic contexts, the program is sustainable because it has already brought about a change in the community’s thinking on the education their children receive. Before school-based management was introduced in Bener Meriah, parents assumed that their school was sufficiently-funded through government-provided funds. However, after beginning to take part in more meetings and events, the parents discovered that the government funding was insufficient, and began working together to find and advocate for additional resources and funds from the district budget. The success of their advocacy has greatly encouraged the community, as they can see the direct results of their work in the improvement of the education on offer. Consequently, the initiative is also sustainable in terms of finances because those involved are increasingly willing to contribute financially to pay for school activities that are not covered by funds provided by the central government. In an institutional manner, the initiative is sustainable because it improved teachers’ performance after they began to see how much the community cares about education. Teachers in Bener Meriah now feel more valued and respected by the community; this has instilled a sense of belonging and ownership among the teachers. This means that the teachers are willing to work harder to improve the quality of the education they provide. The initiative’s success led to its replication in 10 more schools within Bener Meriah; a total of 30 schools have now introduced school-based management. The replication process has been ongoing since April 2014, and has been further strengthened by awards eight of the schools have received: two schools earned gold recognition for their implementation of school-based management, while two more schools received silver and four received bronze.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
In terms of changes and benefits that have directly impacted the public, and particularly the children of Bener Meriah, this initiative has succeeded. Based on the experience of this program, continuous assistance and support from both the government and the community are key to success. Routine assistance has made a huge impact on Bener Meriah’s schools, as school management takes such assistance as signs of seriousness and commitment from the government to improving education. This also encourages the schools to be open about their needs and aims, and improves the relationships between schools, education offices, and the community. To increase commitment and to build trust between all parties involved in the program, including local government agencies, members of the Local People Representative Council (DPRK), schools and community stakeholders, many meetings and informal discussions were held on top of the formal meetings to discuss the program. These informal talks were crucial to building understanding and commitment. To empower the community and to increase their role and participation, schools must build co-operation with parents and the communities, creating an enabling and pleasant environment for students and other members of the school. In the end, this meant that the well-empowered community could participate as much as possible in the program, and had a significant impact on the outcomes. School-based management is intrinsically participatory, and reflects the theory that all decisions can be jointly-made in order to achieve common goals. Transparency and accountability of education providers also is a vital element in helping all partners make the best decisions. The initiative has successfully broken the old tendency for the community to begrudge public facilities that provide sub-standard services. Through school-based management, the community (especially parents) is now much more involved and can better understand the issues facing the school, such as a lack of sufficient funding, and can provide feedback through complaint mechanisms to improve education in Bener Meriah. Based on its impact in 30 schools so far, Bener Meriah’s government should replicate school-based management to all districts and cities in the district. This will assist the local government, education office, and schools in improving education quality and meeting national targets. This expansion process will be much smoother than the initial implementation process, as the lessons learned from the original 30 schools will be of much use, resulting in saved expenditures and better understanding.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Bener Meriah Education Office
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Darwin -
Title:   Mr  
Telephone/ Fax:   +62643 7426245
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Jalan Seurule Kayu, Komplek Perkantoran Pemkab, Redelong Bener Meriah
Postal Code:   24581
City:   Bener Meriah
State/Province:   Aceh

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