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Indonesia: Accountable Schools Make Better Students

June 9, 2011

Jakarta, June 9, 2011 – The Ministry of National Education, with support from the World Bank under the Basic Education Capacity Trust Fund, are today hosting a one-day seminar that explores the link between a school’s accountability and the performance of its students. The topic stems from the adoption of school-based management in Indonesian schools – an administrative system in which schools autonomously decide on budgets, curriculum, and personnel under the guidance of a governing board. Since adopting this system ten years ago, Indonesian schools have seen increased participation, greater empowerment of principals and teachers, and improvements in quality and efficiency.

“New evidence from international studies shows that school-based management is inexpensive and cost-effective, and that accountability mechanisms are key to improvements in student performance,” says Harry Anthony Patrinos, Lead Education Economist at the World Bank.

According to an international student assessment conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 60 countries, where schools are autonomous and accountable, students perform better on international standardized tests. Where schools have full control over their budgets and are overseen by school committees and parents, real gains can be seen in student performance across the world. Local governments can play a role in terms of support and monitoring, however those in the best position to manage the schools are the schools themselves.

“The international students’ assessment suggests that the success of Indonesia’s Bantuan Operational Sekolah program up to 2010 was in fact a result of the way funds were transferred directly to schools from the centre,” says Mae Chu Chang, Lead Educator for the World Bank in Indonesia. “If we want Indonesian students to perform better, we need to let schools manage BOS funds in their own way.”

With contributions from AusAID, USAID and the World Bank, seminar participants from a range of government and international agencies will also share lessons learned about what is working in Indonesia’s schools, and what needs to change. The seminar is supported by the Royal Netherlands Government and the European Union.