School-based management initiatives in Sri Lanka: policy into practice

Wehella, Madura Mangalika (2014) School-based management initiatives in Sri Lanka: policy into practice. Doctoral thesis (EdD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis evaluates the policy intentions, practices and effects of two different
types of School-Based Management (SBM) initiatives in Sri Lanka: the Programme for
School Improvement (PSI) and the Child-Friendly Schools Initiative (CFSI). Moreover,
it examines the similarities and differences between these two initiatives and, when they
co-exist in the same school, the ways in which schools have integrated them. PSI is the
national SBM initiative of Sri Lanka introduced to the schools during 2006-2011
following a prolonged process of designing and consensus building which started in the
1990s. Running parallel to PSI, the CFSI - a rights-based approach to education which
also has SBM features - is being implemented in selected primary schools.

The policy discourse of SBM/PSI focused on the proposition that schools should
be empowered to meet the expectations of their communities and that the administrative
decentralisation which had shifted power from national to provincial levels was not
addressing adequately disparities between schools. At the same time, there was
scepticism as to whether SBM would be able to address the issues of a heterogeneous
school system. CFSI was introduced by UNICEF in response to the government’s
request to strengthen disadvantaged schools. The policy intentions of these two
initiatives were investigated through interviews with key policy officials and with the
representatives of development partner agencies who assisted PSI and CFSI. The
influences of the policy-intents of PSI and CFSI on organisational practices, their effects,
similarities, differences and complementarities were explored through six school case
studies and experiences of the principals, teachers and parents.

The thesis reveals that PSI is expected to empower schools with autonomy for
making collaborative decisions, create a sense of ownership among the school
community and permit improvement of schools. CFSI is intended to promote
inclusiveness, child-centredness and democratic participation. They are both, in
principle, guided by the concerns for ensuring equitable opportunities for all to learn,
improving the quality of education which is judged by student learning outcomes and
improving efficiency in resource allocation and use.

At the school level, each case-study school has forged collaboration between
school-parent-community and ensured democracy in decision-making. School-based
decision-making is promoted by PSI through a set of Ministry guidelines and by CFSI
through a participatory approach recommended by UNICEF and the Ministry, but having
less official ‘force’ than PSI. Both initiatives have influenced to increase parents’
contribution in the school physical infrastructure development and in the educational
projects. School-based planning has been promoted by both initiatives, and in some
cases has resulted in the production of two separate plans. Some schools have combined
these plans in accordance with the thematic structure of national Education Sector
Development Framework. These initiatives have involved principals and teachers in
decision-making, planning and implementation of programmes in collaboration with the
community. The emphasis given to school-based teacher development is, however
inadequate. Nonetheless, the increases in attendance and retention was influenced by
CFSI rather than PSI, while both initiatives have had a positive influence by improving
student learning and performance through various interventions at school and learning at

The several ways in which these initiatives are integrated by schools, ensuring
that each contributes towards filling the gaps left by the other are described. Considering
their complementarities, the positive features of management in PSI and rights-based
approach to education in CFSI in a rational manner, the author recommends an
integrated ‘Learner-Friendly School-Based Management Model’ which will effectively
address learners’ needs. It also recommends a methodology to pilot this model in Sri
Lanka, thus putting the new knowledge produced by this research into practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2801 School administration and organisation > LB3011 School management and discipline
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG021 Asia > LG060 India. Pakistan. Bangladesh. Burma (Republic of the Union of Myanmar). Sri Lanka. Nepal
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 13:03
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2015 13:57

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