Studies in Fiscal Federalism and State–local Finance series
Edited by Ehtisham Ahmad and Giorgio Brosio
Chapter 9: The Impact of Decentralization on Education in Poland
Maciej Jakubowski and Irena Topińska* INTRODUCTION 1 Poland represents a laboratory for the evaluation of decentralization, and there is evidence regarding changes in accessibility, public and private expenditures and teaching quality after more than 15 years of decentralization. The preschool, primary and lower secondary school levels were decentralized in different years under different frameworks and this is used to compare the effects of various policy approaches. The assessment is based on fiscal and school system data available at the gmina (lowest local government) level, as well as on household budget survey data. The latter show how decentralization affects households and individuals. In the case of research on teaching quality, national examination data combined with school system and fiscal data for almost all local governments and students in Poland are explored. The analysis focuses mainly on comparing the situations in 1998 and 2003. These dates were chosen to assess the impact of reforms in 1999 and 2000, which directly affected primary and lower secondary education and could be interpreted as the real beginning of decentralization. Though preschool education was decentralized in 1991, detailed data are only available for 1995–2006, precluding a comparison of what was before the decentralization. The important point is that decentralization is an ongoing process and one should not expect to observe any effects at the very beginning. Thus, trends observed after several years of decentralization are analyzed and the impact of reforms conducted in 1999/2000 is discussed. Finally, we address the question of whether, after...
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