Making Community Voices Heard in Education under the Socialization Process in Vietnam

Organization(s)

The Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific (AFAP) in Vietnam

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Basic Project Information

AFAP Vietnam sought to improve the quality of education services by conducting a review of a government-supported program in education, collecting people’s feedback on education services, and assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of school construction projects.

Sector

Project Summary

Objectives

Improve the quality of education services through a series of social accountability approaches to assess the implementation of school-finance policies

Summary

In order to improve the quality of education services, AFAP Vietnam trained local partners to track funding allocated to assist poor students, surveyed parents and students about their perceptions of education services, and facilitated collaboration between communities and officials to address problems. The project focused specifically on a school-finance system requiring greater financial contributions from communities and the private sector (the “socialization” of education ), and an accompanying cash transfer program to help poor families cope with education-associated costs, such as for materials, school uniforms, and transportation. AFAP’s effort had three phases:

  • Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) involving surveys of schools officials and cash transfer recipients in order to identify any leakages, delays, or other irregularities in the delivery, receipt, and use of funds.
  • A Citizen Report Card (CRC) to assess the experiences and perceptions of parents and students with regard to the availability, quality and accessibility of education services under the socialization system.
  • Social Audits, which brought together local authorities and community members to achieve consensus on problems with school infrastructure, and to identify solutions.

While communities have largely welcomed the socialization system, AFAP Vietnam and their local partners found a number of implementation issues that affect both the quality and accessibility of public education. Specifically, complicated and inconsistent procedures in the cash transfer policy’s implementation led to delays in the delivery of funds for learning support, discrepancies between allocated and received amounts, and unauthorized, mandatory contributions to schools from recipients. Parents were required to contribute to school infrastructure but were not informed of how the funding was used. During the construction process, beneficiaries had limited access to information and also very little opportunity for participation to address their needs and requirements for the infrastructure project. To address these issues, project staff shared findings and recommendations with local stakeholders, and advocated for increased efficiency in the implementation of the socialization program in education. 

Use of Information Communication Technology

None

Scale

PETS: 10 communes and 2 townships

CRC: 9 communes and 1 township

Social Audit: 2 communes 

All studies were conducted across the same two districts in the project’s two target provinces

Target Population

Poor secondary school students
Results

Results Methodology

Self-reported results

Indicators Used

  • Number of CSOs supported to track service provision and policy implementation
  • Number of CSOs playing an active role in engaging with government /decision-makers in order to improve access to services for the poor
  • Number of local people providing feedback on service delivery across the project areas
  • Number of social accountability tools and models replicated in similar regions

Reported Results

  • The cash-transfer program to help poor families cope with education costs was revised to adhere to its original design, allowing for direct cash transfers between local governernment and eligible students' families instead of going through schools 
  • Three CSOs effectively tracked service provision and policy implementation with support from AFAP (HCCD, CDI – Centre for Development and Integration, CRP – Centre for Rural Progress)
  • One CSO successfully engaged with government/decision-makers to improve access to services for the poor (HCCD)
  • 1,500 local people provided feedback on service delivery across project areas
  • Plans were made for three social accountability tools (PETS, CRC, SA)  to be replicated in similar regions
  • Local government in project districts indicated a willingness to replicate tools after the project’s end
  • Increased understanding from communities about various government programs, and their rights to be heard and provide feedback to service providers
  • Project findings were used as reference material for members of National Assembly and a working mechanism to provide information was established between AFAP Vietnam and Information Centre of the National Assembly
  • The first social accountability working group for international and Vietnamese organizations was established for improved knowledge-sharing and coordination with each other and government 
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