State-non-state relationship within the context of decentralization: understandings of school-level actors in Gopalpur sub-district, Bangladesh

Zia-Us-Sabur, Mohammed (2016) State-non-state relationship within the context of decentralization: understandings of school-level actors in Gopalpur sub-district, Bangladesh. Doctoral thesis (EdD), University of Sussex.

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The focus of this study is to understand how policies to decentralize governance have affected the primary education sector in Bangladesh with specific reference to non-state schools. Decentralizing education has emerged as an important strategic tool to reform and enhance education quality globally. The study analyzes the relationship between the state and non-state primary education providers in the context of education reforms delivered via decentralization. The investigation used a qualitative case study approach with respondents residing and working in Gopalpur, a small township 125 km away from the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Three categories of school-level actors were interviewed - School Management Committee (SMC) members, head teachers and teachers within two types of schools: Registered Non-Government Primary Schools (RNGPS) and Quomi madrassas.

A primary focus of the study is to explore what the basic comprehension of the respondents regarding concepts and the implications of decentralization. The findings indicate that most of the school-level actors interviewed in the Gopalpur area were in fact familiar with the concepts of decentralization and related to it as an act of transfer of power and participatory education processes.

The study further revealed that most of the RNGPS respondents supported policy guidelines and directives from the state, which is based on deconcentration, while the Quomi madrassas preferred delegated space. The research also explored the operational relationship between state and non-state providers in terms of two specific aspects. The first aspect was the relationship between state and non-state providers in three specific areas: the SMCs, monitoring activities and the training of education personnel with a focus on teachers. The other aspect involves the extent of trust and respect displayed from the center towards the school-level actors. The SMCs apparently do not feel motivated to be proactive in schools‘ affairs due to limited scope as dictated by the state and lack of authority to hold the school administrations accountable for their actions. However, Quomi Madrassa Management Committees (MMC) is very involved and act as effective mediators on behalf of the community as well as madrassas. In regards to monitoring and training inputs, the state‘s centralized system does not produce far-reaching enough results according to the RNGPS respondents.

This study also investigated the mindset of officials belonging to the DPE (Directorate of Primary Education) and MOPME (Ministry of Primary & Mass Education) towards the school-level actors, which are characterized by lack of mutual trust and respect. This study reveals that given the diverse nature of non-state providers, each category of non-state providers has its own historical origins and its own understanding and approaches towards the state. The study also shows that SMCs, monitoring and training sub-systems within the governance play an important role in defining operational relationship between the state and non-state providers.

The findings and analyses included herein contribute to the current policy discourse on decentralizing education in Bangladesh within the context of non-state providers and their relationship in operational terms with the state. It adds to more informed and participatory policy formulation and planning processes. Along this process, it serves to inform policy makers, school-level actors and researchers about the value of collective ownership of the policy discourse through meaningful dialogue.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education > LC0071 Education and the state
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG021 Asia > LG060 India. Pakistan. Bangladesh. Burma (Republic of the Union of Myanmar). Sri Lanka. Nepal
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 08:43
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 08:43

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