, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 131–147 | Cite as

Popularity of the decentralization reform and its effects on the quality of education

  • Anila ChannaEmail author
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Policymakers have increasingly advocated decentralization as a way of enhancing educational quality, although its potential in this area is still subject to debate. This article traces the impetus and popularity of the reform as a policy solution over the past few decades. It argues that three trends in particular have characterized the post-2000 era: a deepening of reforms implemented earlier, an enhanced focus on school decentralization interventions, and a notable increase in schemes in the African region. Interestingly, in individual nations, donor agencies have often encouraged the reforms that make up these trends. The article then examines the empirical evidence on the relationship between decentralization and educational quality, using detailed case studies of Indonesia and Kenya. The case studies not only showcase these decentralization trends but also demonstrate that different decentralization approaches can result in dramatically different outcomes in educational quality. On this front, the article argues that design and implementation features tend to shape quality outcomes—and those features, in turn, are fundamentally shaped by economic conditions as well as by the politics of donors and local stakeholders.


Education quality Decentralization School-based management Indonesia Kenya 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Development Studies, SOASUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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