Study on Governance Challenges for Education in Fragile Situations

INEE has once again brought its resources together to consider other issues to do with improving the situation in areas of conflict , post conflict and countries which can still be described as ‘fragile states’. Governance is the focus of a new study:

fragile states

The European Commission Study on Governance Challenges for Education in Fragile Situations, part of the Working Group on Education and Fragility’s work plan, has been released. The study includes a synthesis report and eight case-studies – Aceh, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, Somalia and Southern Sudan – which aims to contribute to a better understanding of key governance challenges facing education in different fragile situations, highlighting implications and making recommendations for external support to the education sector.

EC Study on Governance Challenges for Education in Fragile Situations
Education sector fragility and resilience assessments
Based on education sector fragility and resilience assessments, the EC Study examines sector performance and fragility/resilience features. Trends reveal that, overall, there is a degree of correlation between the peaks and troughs of security and political instability, and access to education services.  In terms of resilience, sector governance capacity was found in all the cases studied to be adaptive to its surrounding environment through a diversification of providers, clients/learners and organisational/management/financing arrangements. These adaptations were often found to contribute to the ‘resilience’ and ‘early recovery’ of the education system especially if addressed at an early stage.
Analysis of challenges to education governance
The Study offers an analysis of the broader macro and sector governance challenges related to sector policy, strategy and budget; sector coordination; institutional setting and capacity; performance monitoring systems; macro-economic frameworks; and public financial management (PFM) systems. Some of these challenges include:

  • the underdevelopment of education standards setting and broad-based stakeholder participation in performance monitoring;
  • insufficient utilization of ‘results oriented’ expenditure frameworks and provision of more targeted support for the PFM system; and
  • the need to strengthen sector performance oversight and independent watchdog agencies.

The Study finds evidence that in situations of ongoing fragility or recent emergence from fragility, these challenges are gradually moving higher up on the country and donor sector development agendas, as part of mutual accountability for results and improved aid effectiveness. The Study identifies key ‘enabling factors’ which could meet the identified challenges and better enable transitional phases including:

  • early preparation of medium-term sector plans;
  • a comprehensive and inclusive education reconstruction programme that overcomes previous educational grievances;
  • early building of state organisational capacity to regulate public-private-community education partnerships;
  • early embedding of alternative or accelerated learning strategies and programmes within formal systems to avoid perpetuating over-age entry; and
  • early restoration of state-run teacher payroll, merit-driven teacher recruitment and teacher training systems.

The Study concludes with a set of recommendations for development partners to consider as they work to support education sectors in fragile situations. The recommendations first address programme planning and design, suggesting that development partners work with governments to:

  • look at ways to better embed sector governance assessment, methodology and tools into country assistance programming and design;
  • focus on a smaller number of harmonised priority programmes;
  • look beyond the delivery of primary education, and prioritise skills development linked to livelihood recovery and system/career pathways
  • consider providing early support for the payment of teacher salaries, whilst maintaining short term community contributions and a longer-term perspective for a state paid service
  • accord higher priority to developing ‘teaching service development plans’, and
  • promote state capacity to adopt an enabling role for public-private-community partnerships.

Secondly, the Study’s recommendations address programme implementation, monitoring and learning, suggesting that development partners work with governments to:

  • support NGOs and CBOs to help facilitate capacity building of externally oriented information and communication systems and national education oversight arrangements;
  • set up and support inclusive state/non-state actor coordination mechanisms to formulate medium to longer-term plans;
  • look at ways to make school block grants more policy and results conditional, alongside a well regulated school governance/management capacity development plan;
  • emphasise prioritisation of sustainable education census and information systems;
  • promote early and donor harmonised medium-term public expenditure planning and PFM assessments.

Other resources on education and governance
The European Commission’s new Capacity4Dev group on Education and Development is coordinated by the education sector in EuropeAid. The group will bring together people working in education and development, including Commission staff in Delegations and Headquarters, and anyone else with an interest in the field. It aims to be an interactive site for accessing information and exchanging ideas. Interested individuals can register to leave comments on the Study and other materials as the site develops. To register and contribute, click here.
INEE also has a dedicated webpage on governance. Links to the EC Study as well as other key other resources and materials on governance, including all of the country reports can be found


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