Improving community participation in basic education management: the case of Kasena-Nankana District

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Community participation in Basic Education Management is one of the core strategies being used to achieve the objectives of the fCUBE programme in Ghana. The ever increasing demands of most school communities for infrastructure, teaching and learning material, qualified teaching staff as well as incentives to motivate teachers to teach in the most remote and rural areas in Ghana have made the task of Government in meeting Basic Education needs a daunting one. Recognising this challenge, the Government of Ghana initiated the concept of School- Based Management through decentralisation in education delivery to coincide with one of the three components of fCUBE namely: increasing access to and participation in basic education (GES, 2001: 6). This was seen as a way to shed off some burden and encourage as well as strengthen community ownership and management of basic schools in Ghana. However, the current management strategy of basic schools is confronted with sociocultural, economic and political problems threatening the realisation of effective and efficient school delivery in the Kasena-Nankana District. The ignorance of most parents and guardians of their role in the current educational decentralised system, the lack of resource capability (material and human) to actively participate in school management processes juxtaposed with conflict of School-Based Management organizations over control in school matters have posed a significant threat to effective school delivery. A careful review of available literature on community participation in education, using country and international publications, reports of Ghana government on education as well as unpublished documents enabled the choice of appropriate technique of investigation. To ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the problems militating against local level involvement in Basic Education Management, a cross sectional design technique of the Case Study approach was adopted with the units of analysis encompassing local level actors involved in school management processes as well as personnel of the District Directorate of Education. Results of the study have shown that communities participate in several ways in the management of basic schools in the district. These range from administrative functions through maintenance/provision of infrastructure, budgeting/financing to monitoring and evaluation. The extent of involvement however, varies across board as communities either lack the resource capability or expertise to participate in some spheres of school management processes in the district. Further, some problems also hinder community participation m iii Basic Education Management in the Kasena-Nankana District which require redress if Basic Education Management must gain true community ownership and acceptability. The ultimate redress strategy should therefore, be a policy intervention requiring mandatory community involvement in school management, capable of eliciting the requisite commitment and support needed to make Basic Education delivery effective.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 2008