BRIEF

Community Engagement for School Committees in Pakistan

October 3, 2016



Governments in developing countries often support school-based management committees as a way to get parents and community members more involved in education in order to improve the quality and ensure community voices are heard. However, it’s unclear how useful these committees are and how to get them to work more effectively.  This evaluation aims to measure how different approaches to boosting parental involvement work. The results will provide governments with a further understanding of what approaches can work, including whether creating virtual stakeholder networks through text messaging is effective.

Research area: Education

Country: Pakistan

Evaluation Sample: 287 schools

Timeline: 2013 - 2016

Intervention: Text messages, meetings, information

Researchers: Salman Asim, World Bank; Margo Hoftijizer, World Bank; Umbreen Arif, World Bank

 

Context

In Pakistan, school management committees were designed to empower communities to advocate on behalf of their children’s education, but they are largely non-functional. Policy makers are exploring new initiatives to involve local communities in schools through revitalized school management committees that help boost accountability and transparency in the education system, and make education services more responsive.



Intervention/Evaluation

The programs being evaluated seeks to improve the functioning of the school committees by making sure that families understand their rights and responsibilities as parents of school-age children. This was carried out through two programs. In one, village wide meetings were held to give parents information on what they could do and how to use the committees to interact with the government schools. In the second program, an online, text messaging system was created to allow parents to exchange information on school performance and to connect with school committee members.

Researchers randomly selected 287 villages in Sindh province and randomly assigned them to one of five groups listed below.

Control: No Information or capacity-building intervention.

INFO-MEET: A face-to-face meeting of all stakeholders (parents, teachers, village influential figures and council members) was organized. They were encouraged to visit the schools, report needed repairs and track student progress.

INFO-SMS: A face-to-face meeting of all stakeholders (parents, teachers, village influential figures and council members) was organized to introduce the community to a text messaging platform for mobile phones. This platform creates a virtual network of all stakeholders in the community. Periodic summary messages compiled from the comments and feedback received through the text messaging network were shared with all participants through regular summary text messages.  

INFO-MEET-SUPPORT: In addition to a face-to-face meeting to tell participants about their rights and to suggest ways to better monitor schools and school performance, new elections were held for school committee members. The newly elected members received capacity-building support and resources to perform their expected roles and responsibilities.

T5 – INFO-SMS-SUPPORT: In addition to creating a text messaging platform and encouraging community members to use it, new elections were held for school committee members. The newly elected members received capacity-building support and resources to perform their expected roles and responsibilities.