CSO Monitoring of Education (AF0019)
Action Plan: Afghanistan Action Plan 2019-2021
Action Plan Cycle: 2019
Lead Institution: Ministry of Education
Support Institution(s): Ministry of education and civil society organizations
Policy AreasE-Government, Education, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery
What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
Ministry of Education is the most prominent public ministry in every country. What makes this ministry distinct from other ministries is presence of people in decision makings and proceedings of other activities. What happened in Afghanistan, diminutive public participation in decision makings and vague monitoring from activities in the ministry of education. In some cases ministry of education makes sole decision and less attention is paid to public views. Lack of active parents’ councils in some schools can be counted as one of the boldest samples of gap between people and ministry of education. There are some parents’ councils at some schools but lack of coordination, misunderstanding between members of councils about their roles and responsibilities caused that these councils have not played responsible part in the monitoring of tasks and decision-making of executives.
In addition, there is no clear framework in ministry education to increase public engagement in scrutiny and decision making at schools. This gap caused problems like: low quality education services; high rate of teachers and students absenteeism; lack of educational infrastructures maintenance and lack of transparency and accountability of school officials to public.
What is the commitment?
This commitment is seeking to develop a mechanism to strengthen role of people in shaping and monitoring education sector through parents’ and schools administrative councils. The objective of this mechanism is to create the parents’ councils and strengthen the role of the administrative councils of schools. This ultimately results into high quality education services, betterment in educational conditions, transparency and accountability in the ministry of education.
How will the commitment contribute to solving the public problem?
By developing these councils at schools, civil society, reputed people and the parents of children will directly be involved in operations of school affairs. Involvement of aforementioned stratums strengthens sense of ownership in decision among public so that they will put efforts to monitor the school affairs and recommend/bring reforms and improvements.
Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
This commitment not only elevates public and CSOs scrutiny and decision making pertinent to fate of their children which is related to public participation. But also, public scrutiny makes government staff to be accountable and transparent.
This commitment is related to cooperation mechanism between CSOs and MoI
IRM Midterm Status Summary
6. Invigorate/Strengthen Role of Public and Civil Society in the Monitoring of Education
This commitment is seeking to develop a mechanism to strengthen role of people in shaping and monitoring education sector through parents’ and schools’ administrative councils. The objective of this mechanism is to create the parents’ councils and strengthen the role of the administrative councils of schools. This ultimately results into high quality education services, betterment in educational conditions, transparency, and accountability in the Ministry of Education.
By developing these councils at schools, civil society, reputed people, and the parents of children will directly be involved in operations of school affairs. Involvement of aforementioned stratums strengthens sense of ownership in decision among public so that they will put efforts to monitor the school affairs and recommend/bring reforms and improvements.
- Developing an action plan in order to create a mechanism to strengthen role of public and civil society in the monitoring of education.
- Form a joint committee of Education Ministry representatives and CSOs to develop a mechanism to strengthen role of public and civil society in the monitoring of education.
- Preparing a draft mechanism to develop parents’ council and strengthen schools’ administrative councils by joint committee.
- Sharing the draft mechanism with the public through Ministry of Education website and social media to collect opinions and incorporate them into the draft.
- Convene consultative meeting with parents, education experts, and CSOs to collect and incorporate their ideas into draft.
- Pilot implementation of the mechanism in 8 zones of Afghanistan; in every zone two schools: one male one female.
- Finalizing the draft by joint committee and signatory by Minister of Education
Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Afghanistan’s action plan at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Afghanistan_Action-Plan_2019-2021_EN.pdf.
IRM Design Report Assessment
This commitment aims to establish a participatory mechanism that would allow citizens to have a role in the monitoring of education administration. The mechanism will be tested through a series of pilot projects in eight different school zones. The Ministry of Education will lead the implementation of this commitment, in collaboration with relevant civil society organizations. This initiative builds on commitment 9 in Afghanistan’s 2017-219 action plan, which led to the creation of a multistakeholder National Oversight Committee and four subnational committees to monitor education service delivery. These bodies administered and reviewed student satisfaction surveys across five provinces. 
Since 2006, public participation in education assumed greater focus through the World Bank’s Education Quality Improvement Program. This program helped to establish Parents’ Councils in 10,000 schools across Afghanistan.  However, the program’s completion in 2016 reduced the activity of Parents’ Councils substantially. While the establishment of such councils is mandated by the 2008 Law on Education,  there is no clear formal mechanism that regulates implementation.
In 2014, Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a civil society organization that focuses on accountability and social auditing, rolled out the Community-Based Monitoring of School (CBM-S) program.  This was to be a successor to the organization’s Community Scorecard program, which provided training for members of school management councils to evaluate the quality of education services, identify problems, and solve problems locally.  The CBM-S program aimed to establish a mechanism to enhance coordination between education administrators and community members, raise accountability and transparency, and form a community-based monitoring system.  The program targeted the councils that were established through the World Bank’s program but was unable to sustain them due to a lack of clarity in the council implementation mechanism. 
Integrity Watch Afghanistan further highlighted the problem of limited public participation in education management in 2018.  The organization identified the local ownership of schools as one of the key areas of priority in education delivery. The survey found that school capacity to solve problems collaboratively and local ownership shaped citizen’s perceptions of education. 
Through this commitment, the government will build on its experiences to develop a mechanism for the formation of Parents’ Councils and their participation in monitoring education locally. The commitment also aims to ensure the sustainability of these councils by establishing a standard practice to guide implementation.
Further, the Ministry of Education has also expressed strong interest in raising the level of council participation in education management to include budget monitoring.  This measure could potentially increase financial transparency and accountability within the education system and thus contribute to improving the quality of education services. Such progress would be in line with the ministry’s monitoring and evaluation system reform, which, among other goals, aims to give a more prominent role to civil society stakeholders in education monitoring.  To accomplish this, the ministry would focus on two main objectives. 1) It would strengthen the inclusion of parents in the monitoring of service delivery in schools. 2) And it would mainstream the principle of school being a collaborative learning community. 
Another dimension that this commitment could potentially tackle is addressing the gender gap in Afghanistan’s education system. Past experiences with Parents’ Councils have shown varying success in this area. Nonetheless, there are instances where these councils fostered public trust and helped encourage families to send girls to schools, facilitating dialogue between citizens and the government in the process.  However, this commitment’s design does not specifically incorporate any gender-related perspectives.
This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of civic participation, as it supports the involvement of citizens and civil society in various aspects of the management and delivery of education services. If fully implemented as written, it could have a moderate potential impact on improving service delivery in the education sector. The key change proposed under this commitment is not necessarily to introduce an entirely new practice, but to establish standards around existing practices and an improved mechanism for more sustainable implementation.
Therefore, in implementing this commitment, the Ministry of Education is presented with a crucial opportunity to capitalize on the experiences of implementing Parents’ Councils through different programs in the past. As indicated by reports from Integrity Watch Afghanistan,  local ownership through community-based monitoring of education has previously resulted in increased capacity of school administrators and citizens. Thus, as long as this commitment effectively builds on and learns from the insight and shortcomings of previous programs in this area, it stands to contribute to notable improvement in the quality of education delivery. The commitment falls short of transformative potential impact, however, as it does not appear to introduce a novel participatory processes. It formalizes what already exists.
The commitment, as written, also does not optimize, or fully leverage, the potential of citizens and civil society participation. It does not suggest the development of any sort of redress mechanism that specifies how administrators would respond to feedback from the councils or the civil society stakeholders and the public in general. If such a mechanism is created, the commitment would also enhance public accountability in the education sector.
In addition, the incorporation of gender perspectives in a specific, targeted manner could potentially create an opportunity for community members to address the glaring gender gap in Afghanistan’s education system. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, girls make up approximately 60 percent of the 3.7 million children who were out of school in Afghanistan in 2016.  While the situation has gradually improved, children in rural and poor areas, and girls in particular, continue to lack equal access.  While this may point to complex structural and societal problems, this commitment could aim to address certain aspects of this situation. For example, the proposed councils could be mandated to raise awareness of the importance of education for girls. The councils could also generate local solutions to inform policies regarding the provision of education for children in rural and poor areas. These efforts would also entail better ensuring equal and meaningful participation of women in the school councils themselves. 
Revise Law on Recruitment and Authority of Attorneys General
AF0014, 2019, Access to Justice
Revise Law on Local Government
AF0015, 2019, Legislation & Regulation
Establish Anti-Corruption Commission
AF0016, 2019, Anti-Corruption
Draft Beneficial Ownership Legislation
AF0017, 2019, Anti-Corruption
Portal for Processing Legislative Documents
AF0018, 2019, Capacity Building
CSO Monitoring of Education
AF0019, 2019, E-Government
Develop Electronic Complaint System for Local Government
AF0020, 2019, Capacity Building
Reform and Strengthen Education Data
AF0021, 2019, Access to Information
Participation in Local Budgeting
AF0022, 2019, Fiscal Openness
Electronic Revenue Collection System
AF0023, 2019, Capacity Building
Co-Create University Curriculum
AF0024, 2019, Education
Reform Promotion System for Police Officers
AF0025, 2019, E-Government
Monitoring Framework for Medicine Wholesalers
AF0026, 2019, E-Government
Monitoring of Private and Public Health Centers
AF0027, 2019, E-Government
Participation in National Budget
AF0028, 2019, Fiscal Openness
Open Justice for Anti-Corruption
AF0029, 2019, Access to Justice
Women's Empowerment Plan
AF0030, 2019, Gender
Establishment of Women Grand Council
AF0031, 2019, Gender
Law on Processing, Publishing and Enforcing Legislative Documents
AF0002, 2017, Legislation & Regulation
Courts to Address Violence Against Women
AF0003, 2017, Access to Justice
Public-Police Partnership Councils
AF0004, 2017, Capacity Building
Registering Assets of Government Officials
AF0005, 2017, Anti-Corruption
Scheme for Establishing Health Service Accreditation Entity
AF0006, 2017, Capacity Building
Urban Improvement National Policy
AF0007, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport
Protection Policy for Women Under Conflict and Emergency Situations
AF0008, 2017, Fiscal Openness
Civil Society Monitoring Plan for Education and Higher Education
AF0009, 2017, Education
Plan for the Establishment of a Joint Committee Overseeing the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy
AF0010, 2017, Anti-Corruption
Strengthen the Information Mechanism in 60 Governmental Agencies
AF0011, 2017, Access to Information
Implementing Open Contracting
AF0012, 2017, Access to Information
Public Participation in Road Network Projects
AF0013, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport
Mechanism of Public Partnership in Inspection Process
AF0001, 2017, Anti-Corruption