A climate of non disclosure could be undermining accountability in schools

A climate of non-disclosure pervades the sharing of basic school related information despite policies and pronouncements to the contrary.

In a research brief  titled “Funding of Dar es Salaam Primary Schools: How accessible is school level information?”, Uwazi at Twaweza shows that because of a climate of non disclosure, eighty percent of the teachers interviewed could not correctly state the capitation grant amount entitlement per pupil, which is pegged at US$ 10 per year according to the Primary Education Development Programme. Teachers however generally complained that the money arriving in schools is inadequate, and arrives very late in the year to support any meaningful investment.

The analysis is the third in a series that assesses situation in Dar es Salaam's public primary schools based on a survey conducted between August and December 2010. It reveals further that it is difficult to access information that is deemed 'public' due to an ingrained fear at school level of reprisal from the top. For example, the researchers requested information that was plastered on school notice boards, but they could not be given the information without written notification and approval from ‘higher levels’. Poor mechanisms in place for record keeping and information retrieval in schools also adds to the problem, in effect posing a significant barrier to effective monitoring.

The researchers suggest that improving transparency, record keeping and information retrieval mechanisms are key if better results are to be achieved in education. Specifically, it is suggested that:

  • The amount of grants to which schools are entitled to receive and their disbursement schedules should be made known to schools/head teachers and parents at the beginning of each fiscal year. Announcing this could well be done by the Minister for Education during a specially called press conference and widely disseminated through the media and in popular formats.
  • Proper record keeping of the funds sent should be made mandatory for the school administration, and systems put in place to ensure proper transfer of information when there is a change in school management.
  • Teachers should be given authority to release public information when it is sought by anyone, without the need to provide written reasons for wanting to know the information.

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Authors: Uwazi



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