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Decentralization of Education

Centralization and Decentralization of Education
There are many obstacles in the improvement of smoothly functioning education system e.g. political well, centralization, lack of school autonomy, corruption, lack of managerial skills, poor information system and poor school administration.
The decentralization system of decision-making can improves education administration. Centralized educational system can affect school education system; it is widely understood and practiced around the world that basic education can be better provided in a system that is administered at local community, district and village levels.
In a Centralized system administration can’t respond effectively to local community and student’s needs. The bureaucracy interferes with the flow of resources and information from top to bottom, the lesser investment of bureaucracy will improve the education system in Pakistan because corruption is the main goal of these bureaucrats. Another factor is that higher level administrators have less time to for important educational issues like educational program design, implementation of educational programs, and proper monitoring of educational programs.
 Decentralization of Education in the Context of Educational Policies
At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited a very weak educational system. Majority of the people were illiterate and limited number of educational institutions were there which were insufficient for educating people. Pakistan inherited administrative setup in 1947 from British, a system which was not developed for educating people but for creating clerical staff and since then the system has improved to some extent through administrative reforms but changing the administrative structures did not take place. According to the wishes and need of Pakistan, Educational administration was centralized system. Provincial education departments were under Ministry of education at federal and federal was also regulating the educational laws and policies at provincial levels.
This highly centralized system of education is greatly hampering the effectiveness of education and delivery of service at the very grass-root level. Different governments addressed this issue in their educational policies and plans. A brief review of education policies in respect of decentralization is given below:
In 1959, the National Commission on Education proposed a separate section with considerable autonomy; it was a concept of the devolution of authority it application in educational administration was not accepted.
In National Education Policy 1970 they again proposed decentralization of educational administration to ensure academic freedom and financial autonomy for the effectiveness of educational institutions in the country.
Again in National Education Policy 1979 it was stated that educational administration will be decentralized for effective administration, management and supervision by empowering educational management at lower levels.
In National Education Policy 1992 it was emphasized that the process of decision-making will be decentralized to grassroots level. All Educational development plans shall be effectively monitored coordinated and Manage at district level.
The education administration was decentralized in the province of Punjab and Sindh in 1973 and later on it was implemented in the province of KPK (NWFP) during 1979. Every province was divided into divisions comprising of multiple districts. Divisional office was headed by a Divisional Director. These divisions were further divided into district and Education Department headed by District Education Officer (DEO). Who was assisted by Deputy Education Officer, Assistant Education Officer, and Sub Division Education Officer? Al level of schools were under the administrative control of District Education Officer. While colleges at district level were under control of Directorate of Colleges.
The National Education Policy 1998-2001 proposed the following provisions for decentralization in education:
District Education Officers (DEOs), Assistant District Education Officers (ADEOs), and Village Education Committees (VECs) shall impart training in management and VEC organization to improve the quality of teaching and administration in schools.
District Education Authorities and School Management Committees (SMCs) will be responsible for implementation, evaluation and monitoring of the National Education Policy, 1998
Achievements and Short Coming of DOP
Achievements of DOP are given below:
·         The approvals of small schemes at district levels are quick and easy.
·         Improvement in the accountability of process because the expenditures are discussed in the District Council Meetings
·         improvement in teacher attendance due to frequent officials visit of teams
·         Public awareness about education, people are asking questions in the District Council meetings.
Short Coming of DOP
Issues & Problems
·         The unclear delegation of financial power, creating various problems for the officials working at district level
·         With multiple lines of reporting creating problems for officials working at district level. Decision taking and allocating of resources or allocation of funds to schools.
·         Non-availability of fund at district level makes it difficult for education managers to take rationale decision.
·         Problems between the provinces and districts officials regarding teacher training and the up gradation of schools, which are still approved by the provincial government.
·         The public education system is unable to meet the demand of quality education resulting decreased in enrolment in public schools and increasing enrollment private schools.
·         Only 10 to 20 percent of the budget is left for developmental activities. While the major portion of the budget is spent on recurring expenditure and on salaries
·         The role of District Coordinating Officer in the decentralize set up is considered as a bridge between province and district offices. These officers are senior bureaucrats, therefore, they like top down approach that may defeat the purpose of decentralization.
·         There are problems between DCOs and District Nazim on various issues, which creating tension that may affect the decentralization process.
·         The non-availability of adequate infrastructure at district level to fulfill the need is also a big issue
·         The majority of the new District Managers are not yet ready to work in the new system
·         Delegation of responsibilities without authority.
·         The issue of accountability of Executive District Officer, Due to three tiers structure of District Nazim, District Coordination Officer and the Secretary of Education department
·         Lack of trained staff in the District Office to use and benefit of such services as EMIS.
·         Frequent transfers of field officers in district level
·         Absence of legal advisor or litigation officer creates problems for DEOs and Deputy DEOs and they will deal legal court problems personally
·         There is not enough clarity on the financial aspect of the devolved system. A clear demarcation of financial powers needs to be made
References
Abu-Duhou, I. (1999). Fundamentals of Educational Planning: School-based management. Paris: UNESCO/IIEP.
GoP (2000) National Reconstruction Bureau. Local Government Plan 2000, Islamabad: Chief Executive Secretariat,
Malik, S.R. (1992) The System of Education in Pakistan. National Book Foundation, Islamabad.
Memon, M. (n/d) Decentralization of the Education System in Sindh: A Critical Review. Islamabad.
Pakistan. Statistics Division, GOP (2001). Census of Private Educational Institutions in Pakistan 1999-2000. Islamabad.

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