Decentralization of Educational Management: A Case Study in Oromia National Regional State

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Addis Ababa University


The Ethiopian government has pursued decentralization policy by shifting authority and responsibility to regions. Since 1992, significant changes have been made in the area of provision of educational services, and the management of the education system whose foundation was based on the proclamation issued and the new education and training policy promulgated. The decentralization reform seeks to improve the access, equity, quality and efficiency of education. The decentralization process that has been chosen as an approach to address educational problems was a new phenomena, and a series of factors can compl icate its implementation. Thus, the objectives of the study were, to assess how decentralization was working and the extent to which the administrative levels effectively played their roles in implementing the policy of decentralization. Furthermore, assessing changes that took place, favorable conditions and constraints in the implementation were also the focus of the study. Therefore, the study seeks to contribute valuable information related to educational management problems, which is hoped to encourage the conducting of detail process evaluation. The study has made a brief review of the related literature and experiences of some countries. Using a descriptive survey method, data are drawn from focus group meetings, key informant interviews, data gathering questionnaire and direct observations and transcribed and analyzed. The report focused on how objectives/ purposes of decentralization filtered down the educational administrative levels, the extent to which key management functions were maintained at the intermediate levels, authority and decision making were shared in key areas and creating an environment for reform and changes to take place under the decentralization process. The data indicated that the objectives and purposes of decentralization were poorly articulated and differences in opinions existed between decision-makers and implementers. Regarding transfer of power to intermediate levels to under take the management functions, it was not to the expected level. The findingsshowed that high influence of upper authority in planning functions over the lower administrative levels was observed and the central ministry loosely controlled compliance with standards. On the other hand, the degree to which decision making authority was pushed down to the lower administrative levels was found to be medium and it was observed that authority was shared among each level to some extent. However, the data also revealed power concentration at regional level. The enabling environment so far practiced in the area of policy issues and interventions was found to be fair. The data obtained also showed the local capacity of REB and ZED to be fair while it was poor for WEO.There were also efforts made to delineate responsibilities and authorities at each level by the REB. However, the leadership and management competence to create momentum for innovation and facilitate implementation of decentralized management was found to be low. Although the results of decentralization take a long time to notice and it would be premature to interpret the findings as a full impact they, however, signaled the direction of the changes. Thus, the changes in school environment were reported as a mix of poor, promising and modest impacts for different educational objectives. Therefore, it is suggested that building consensus around the objectives of decentralization, restructuring of the organizational settings, developing strategies to promote greater school autonomy and capacity building at all levels are indispensable for the effective implementation and sustainability of the decentralization efforts.



Educational Management