Building Capacity of School Support Committees
Basic Project Information
To improve the quality of primary education in Cambodia, NEP tracked spending allocated for the school learning environment, assessed student feedback on the quality of the environment, and worked with communities and officials to develop minimum learning environment standards.
Methodology / Approach
- Improve the quality of primary education
- Increase the transparency of the government’s education spending
- Ensure sufficient funds are spent on the school learning environment
In order to improve primary education in Cambodia, NEP focused on the use of the “program-based budget,” a special budget item to support classroom materials and other enhancements to the learning environment. The project team tracked the transfer of these funds to schools, gathered information from students on the quality and availability of classroom materials, and worked with officials and community members to develop minimum standards for how the funds should be used. In addition, the team also developed a “Program Based Budget Tool” to assist with budget planning and trained education officials and school staff on its use. The project included three phases:
- A Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) of district education officials and school staff to identify what type of funding was received, how much was received, whether there were delays in receiving the funds, and how the funds were distributed to district offices and schools.
- A Citizen Report Card (CRC) to gather student feedback on the status of the physical learning environment, as well as student expectations and satisfaction regarding the learning environment.
- A Social Audit to bring community members and education officials together in order to develop a common “checklist” of minimum standards for an adequate learning environment.
The PETS study revealed problems with the timing and sufficiency of program-based budget funding, and the CRC indicated low availability rates for the materials students desired. NEP shared these findings with both officials and communities before facilitating a process to develop and seek approval of minimum standards for the school environment at primary schools.
Use of Information Communication Technology
PETS: Surveys tracking funding to 50 schools
CRC:1,122 student respondents
Social Audit: 4 different localities
- After a major sector bilateral donor organization demanded improvements to school-level payment processes and systems and said it would take into account NEP’s findings, the government issued new regulations regarding education sector budgeting and expenditure. Those regulations provide that transfers to schools will be made via banks (rather than in cash), and will happen in one single payment, rather than in multiple, sometimes unpredictable payments.
- Additional reforms have provided greater school-level flexibility in determining how to spend school budgets
- Approval of a learning environment checklist of minimum standards in two localities, and education ministry consideration of inclusion of those standards in a national education quality improvement effort
- NEP trained 244 local education officials in use of their financial allocation tool