Handbook of International Development and Education
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Handbook of International Development and Education

Edited by Pauline Dixon, Steve Humble and Chris Counihan

This Handbook considers the myths and untruths that currently exist in international development and education. Using historic and contemporary evidence, this compendium redefines the international development narrative through a new understanding of 'what works', drawn from pragmatic ideas and approaches.
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Chapter 28: Community participation and School Based Management

Michael Latham


Policy and academic debates increasingly link failures in service provision to poor governance caused by a lack of transparency and access to public information, weak accountability relationships and low levels of citizen participation. Using these understandings of service failure, academics and international development agencies are increasingly turning their attention to the power of community-based accountability mechanisms to drive service improvements. The overarching model for this short route accountability theory is underpinned by basic economic principles such as supply, demand, market forces and ‘client power’. In addition, it is part of a wider philosophy of decentralisation of decision making and responsibility, including ‘information for accountability’ policies which argue for local access to information about school quality as a lever for change. Advocates argue that decentralisation has the power to bring the ability to influence services within the reach of ordinary people and facilitate the relationship between government policy and people preference.

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