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Afghanistan

CSO Monitoring of Education (AF0019)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Afghanistan Action Plan 2019-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Education

Support Institution(s): Ministry of education and civil society organizations

Policy Areas

E-Government, Education, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Afghanistan Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

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.

Additional information
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.

Main Objective

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.

Milestones

  • 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

Verifiable:

Yes

Relevant:

Civic Participation

Potential impact:

Moderate

Commitment Analysis

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. [64]

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. [65] 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, [66] 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. [67] 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. [68] 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. [69] 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. [70]

Integrity Watch Afghanistan further highlighted the problem of limited public participation in education management in 2018. [71] 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. [72]

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. [73] 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. [74] 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. [75]

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. [76] 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, [77] 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. [78] While the situation has gradually improved, children in rural and poor areas, and girls in particular, continue to lack equal access. [79] 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. [80]

[64] Huma Saeed. Afghanistan’s 2017-2019 IRM Implementation Report. Publication Forthcoming.
[65] Abdul Wase Aryan (Ministry of Education of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan), interview by IRM researcher, 4 June 2020.
[66] Law on Education, Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, accessed July 2020, https://bit.ly/2ZZelDe, p. 51.
[67] “CBM–Schools,” Integrity Watch Afghanistan, 2014, https://iwaweb.org/cbm-schools/.
[68] Ibid.
[69] Ibid.
[70] Integrity Watch Afghanistan, interview by IRM researcher, 4 June 2020.
[71] Integrity Watch Afghanistan, Education Compromised? A Survey of Schools in 10 Provinces of Afghanistan 2018, 2018, https://iwaweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/EDUCATION-COMPROMISED-A-SURVEY-OF-SCHOOLS-IN-10-PROVINCES-OF-AFGHANISTAN.pdf, p. 20.
[72] Ibid., p. 21.
[73] Aryan interview.
[74] Ibid.
[75] Ibid.
[76] Ibid.
[77] Education Compromised? p. 54.
[78] “Afghanistan—Education: Providing Quality Education for All,” United Nations Children’s Fund, accessed July 2020, https://www.unicef.org/afghanistan/education.
[79] Ibid.
[80] Ministry of Education of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Women's Participation in School Management Shuras—Obstacles and Opportunities for Women's Involvement in Government Schools in Kabul City: Pilot Study Report, 2015, old.moe.gov.af/Content/files/Women%20Participation%20in%20SMSs%20Study.pdf.

Commitments

  1. Revise Law on Recruitment and Authority of Attorneys General

    AF0014, 2019, Access to Justice

  2. Revise Law on Local Government

    AF0015, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  3. Establish Anti-Corruption Commission

    AF0016, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  4. Draft Beneficial Ownership Legislation

    AF0017, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  5. Portal for Processing Legislative Documents

    AF0018, 2019, Capacity Building

  6. CSO Monitoring of Education

    AF0019, 2019, E-Government

  7. Develop Electronic Complaint System for Local Government

    AF0020, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Reform and Strengthen Education Data

    AF0021, 2019, Access to Information

  9. Participation in Local Budgeting

    AF0022, 2019, Fiscal Openness

  10. Electronic Revenue Collection System

    AF0023, 2019, Capacity Building

  11. Co-Create University Curriculum

    AF0024, 2019, Education

  12. Reform Promotion System for Police Officers

    AF0025, 2019, E-Government

  13. Monitoring Framework for Medicine Wholesalers

    AF0026, 2019, E-Government

  14. Monitoring of Private and Public Health Centers

    AF0027, 2019, E-Government

  15. Participation in National Budget

    AF0028, 2019, Fiscal Openness

  16. Open Justice for Anti-Corruption

    AF0029, 2019, Access to Justice

  17. Women's Empowerment Plan

    AF0030, 2019, Gender

  18. Establishment of Women Grand Council

    AF0031, 2019, Gender

  19. Law on Processing, Publishing and Enforcing Legislative Documents

    AF0002, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  20. Courts to Address Violence Against Women

    AF0003, 2017, Access to Justice

  21. Public-Police Partnership Councils

    AF0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  22. Registering Assets of Government Officials

    AF0005, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  23. Scheme for Establishing Health Service Accreditation Entity

    AF0006, 2017, Capacity Building

  24. Urban Improvement National Policy

    AF0007, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  25. Protection Policy for Women Under Conflict and Emergency Situations

    AF0008, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  26. Civil Society Monitoring Plan for Education and Higher Education

    AF0009, 2017, Education

  27. Plan for the Establishment of a Joint Committee Overseeing the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy

    AF0010, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  28. Strengthen the Information Mechanism in 60 Governmental Agencies

    AF0011, 2017, Access to Information

  29. Starred commitment Implementing Open Contracting

    AF0012, 2017, Access to Information

  30. Starred commitment Public Participation in Road Network Projects

    AF0013, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  31. Starred commitment Mechanism of Public Partnership in Inspection Process

    AF0001, 2017, Anti-Corruption

Open Government Partnership