“ autonomy affects student achievement negatively in developing and low-performing countries, but positively in developed and high-performing countries.”
“ no overall effect on achievement, but a negative effect on teacher effort, particularly in rural areas and among schools with inactive school committees.”
Higher management quality is strongly associated with better educational outcomes
Almost half of the difference between the management scores of autonomous government schools and regular government schools is accounted for by differences in leadership of the principal and better governance.
Bureaucratic capacity can be thought of as — if given a responsibility, what’s the probability that the local system will do a) without corruption/negligence and b) with good quality, which requires skill.
One, decentralization is only the means not the goal. Often, decentralization is seen as end goal of reform and not as a means. In such cases, the autonomy is increased but efforts aren’t made to hand hold the local systems to build BC. It might result in adverse effects. On the other hand, if decentralization is seen only as a means but not the goal, the efforts don’t stop with increasing autonomy. Building BC is also taken up with similar seriousness. The critical issue here is the time. Increasing autonomy without caring to hand hold might make the situation go out of hands. Sincere efforts to build BC reduce the time of transition it thereby reducing the costs of decentralization. This is of course a hard task which involves coordinating with communities, changing cultures of work, dealing with motivation of teachers and so on.
Two, education reform has to be comprehensive, not piecemeal. For effective results, efforts to address all the problems have to be made at the same time. One can't afford to fix infrastructure today, decentralize tomorrow, build capacity day after and so on. The results will only be achieved only after all these are addressed beyond a threshold not any time before. With a sequential approach, it will take eternity to reach there. With a comprehensive parallel approach, we reduce the time taken to achieve results by leveraging on the complementary effects.