Conceptually, education policy making and monitoring is differentiated from education implementation. This is a logical position and is one of the main reasons for the current structural formation. However, at another important level, education is too complex and far reaching a process to be left in the hands of a few, albeit competent professionals based at the centre.
By its very nature, education touches the lives of nearly every individual, and its governance has to be situational and broad based.
Within policies set at the national level, education leadership and management at the local level must be capable of responding adequately to the needs of the school system. This can only occur when the responsibility for its day-to-day policy implementation is at the local level. Of course, technical advice is necessary and this will be provided by MOE and the Regional Education Departments.
The decentralization process also allows the beneficiaries, as members of their respective communities to have a say in the process that serves them. It allows them to set priorities that are important to them, and allows for an organized and structured medium for feedback to the various centres.
It will also in the long-term, aid in the development of people, as participation in such a process can only lead to a growing ability to manage one's affairs, hence also, the introduction of the system of Governance of Schools by Boards supported by the strengthening of school alliances (PTAs/CTAs).
Finally, this process fits in with the overarching need for the Ministry of Education to establish partners in education and to help stimulate and improve educational leadership and management.
The Regional System of Governance and the Decentralized System of Education
An operational structure for this system and parameters of its functional authority and its relationship with the central administration of the Ministry of Education has been established, to enhance the level of education administration within the regions. This action ensures that matters such as resource allocation - recruitment of teachers, teacher training and teacher upgrading programmes, monitoring and supervision of the work of teachers in the classroom, distribution of books to children, school feeding and other similar areas.
A decentralized system as conceived in the 1980 legislation, requires close collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Local Government. Roles and responsibilities between the two Ministries were discussed and defined with clear lines of authority; delineation of roles, relationships and responsibilities; and the development of capabilities established.
Further, functionaries within the Ministry of Local Government have been exposed to the knowledge and skills to effectively oversee the implementation of education delivery.
In order to fully implement and maintain an effective decentralized system, workshops and consultations were held to address deficiencies that were recognized and lessons learnt from the past.
Regional Education Management, Role and function of different levels of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) as it relates to Education
The following illustrates the basic functional relationships between the Centre and the Regions. More specifically, it explains the basic relationship between the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Regional Education Committee (REC) and the Regional Education Departments (RED). It provides a framework that with little effort can be adapted to the given regional condition.
Regional Democratic Council (RDC)
The Regional Democratic Council is the overarching authority in the region and exercises control of the Education Sub-sector through the Education Department. This is the ruling body that has been given the mandate by people of the spatial / geographical region to conduct its affairs according to good governance. Included in this mandate is the right to a quality education.
Regional Education Committee (REC)
The Regional Education Committee is a sub-committee of the RDC which gives support to the Regional Education Departments and advises the RDC on education matters. The main area of focus is to enhance the Management of Education Delivery by creating conditions for greater collaboration between schools and their communities.
Regional Education Departments (RED)
The Management and Supervision of Education in the Regions is the direct responsibility of the Regional Education Departments. The Regional Education Officers and their teams which staff these departments must demonstrate a high level of professionalism as they seek to manage the delivery of education, effectively and efficiently.
The Heads of Departments of Education must ensure that all officers are involved in the development of the Regional Work-Plan. Input must come from each officer based on the schools they supervise. In order for the Work Plan to be successfully executed, there must also be a high level of cooperation, timely review and regular feedback among all officers, Headteachers and other stakeholders. These may occur at weekly meetings of officers, monthly and quarterly meetings with Headteachers and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) / Community Teacher Alliances (CTAs). The Regional Education Department must be present at these meetings and make intervention on important issues.
Major areas of responsibilities
- Managing of the delivery of education at the regional level through regular supervision and inspection visits to schools every term and the conducting of training programmes.
- Reviewing reports from the MERD team and developing action plans to address weaknesses.
- Communicating of education policies and statutory regulations governing the education system to all concerned.
- Advising the Regional Democratic Council on education matters and providing feedback to Central Ministry.
- Establishing and maintaining good school community relationships through the involvement of PTAs in every school.
- Ensuring overall alignment of Work Plans and School Improvement Plans with MOE Strategic Plan.
- Ensuring that the Non Academic Standards are met to enhance the delivery process.
- Overseeing planning and implementation of Continuous Professional Development programmes for Regional, Neighbourhood and School communities.
- Collecting relevant data to assist the monitoring and decision making process and maintaining a relationship with the MOE in this regard.
- Plan and conduct training sessions to provide for the needs of office, support and technical staff.
Organizational Relationships and Lines of Authority
- The Ministry of Regional and Local Development has the overall responsibility to ensure that the ten Administrative Regions are managed according to legislation. This includes working closely with other state agencies such as the Ministry of Education. The Regional Democratic Councils are supervised directly by the Ministry of Regional Development.
- RDCs are responsible to the MOE for the implementation of education policy in their respective regions. Such policies are only made after wide stakeholder participation, which include inputs from the various regions.
- The Regional Chairmen and Regional Executive Officers as political and administrative heads of the regions are accountable to the RDCs for day-to-day management of the regions. This includes the management of education delivery through the Regional Education Departments with assistance from the Regional Education Committees.
- The REC is a sub-committee of the RDC, which oversees education policy implementation for the latter through its chairman, who must be a Regional Councillor. The REC reports periodically to the RDC. The Regional Chairman and REO are ex-officio members and secretary respectively of a sub-committee of the Council.
- The Regional Education Department, headed by the Reginal Education Officer (REdO), carries out the day-to-day implementation of education in the region. The REdO is the Chief Professional (Education) Officer in the region and answers to the Council by way of the REO, the Regional Chairman and the Regional Education Committee.
- Strategic planning and policy formulation is provided by the MOE. The annual estimates of expenditure for each Education District must receive the concurrence of the MOE. This is to ensure the Delivery of Quality Education to the Nation as a whole.
All other important regional education matters, including budgetary estimates are collaboratively made by the Regional Democratic Council, the Regional Education Committee, the Regional Executive Officer and the Regional Education Department.
Level of Responsibilities
The Head of Department of Education has overall responsibility for the quality of education delivered throughout the Region. Based on orientation, experience and certification, District Education Officers are appointed, and have the responsibility to manage education delivery at specific levels in a sub-region; for example, there would be a District Education Officer (DEO) Nursery, DEO Primary, DEO Secondary or a EO Prevocational. Under special circumstances as in the hinterland regions where the number of schools does not allow for the appointment of more than one officer for the sub-district the officers shall supervise all levels. The Heads of Departments of Education will also be assisted by an Administrative Officer, who will undertake all the administrative tasks of the office. This will allow the Heads of Departments of Education to have more discrete time for the supervision of schools.
The Heads of Department of Education allocates schools to each
District Education Officer in the Department. Heads of Departments of Education ensures that each school and Practical Instruction Centre is visited for the purposes of supervision and inspection once per month or thrice per term. In an academic year, five of these visits must be announced in advance. No notification shall be given for the other four visits. Due consideration will be given to local geographical and level circumstances.
Two types of supervisory visits will be made to schools: Individual and Team Visits. Individual Visits are to be made by the Supervising Officer while Team Visits shall be made by groups of two or more officers
Supervisory encounters shall focus on the areas stated in the Visits to Schools: Supervisory Instrument and Report. However, other areas may be included by the Department of Education as the need arises or by the Ministry of Education.
The broad areas of focus are
- Teaching and Learning (Curriculum and Instruction)
- Administration and Organization
- Pupil Personnel Matters
- Physical Facilities
- Finance and Business Management
- School-Community Alliance.
Details of each supervisory encounter at the level of the school shall be recorded in the Visits to Schools: Supervisory Instrument and Report. A copy of the report shall be sent to the Headteacher of the school, the Head of Department of Education and to the Chairman of the Board, if it is a school managed by a Board. The Supervising Officer of the school will retain a copy of the report which will be used to give focus to subsequent follow-up visits.
A report will be compiled within two weeks and dispatched to the stakeholders. The contents of those reports will be among those matters discussed at the Weekly Reporting and Planning Meetings of the Department of Education and the Monthly Meetings of School Board. At the end of each month the Heads of Department of Education will dispatch a copy of each officer's Monthly Supervisory Report to the Regional Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Education Officer (Development). Failure to do so must cause the DCEO (Administration) to initiate a disciplinary course of action
Quarterly Assessment of Performance
The performance of each officer shall be assessed on a quarterly basis. An officer who, for each of the three months in a quarter, fails to meet his/her target of supervisory encounters shall be written to for an explanation. Failure to achieve his/her targets for two consecutive quarters shall result in an investigation by the Regional Education Committee. Should the Regional Education Committee find the officer in dereliction of duty, then it shall make the necessary recommendations to the Regional Executive Officer with copies to the Ministry of Education and the Public Service Commission. Letters of commendation shall be dispatched to officers who, on a quarterly basis, achieve or surpass their supervisory targets.