From an assessment of school services to democratization of school management: New approach to collaboration between students, parents and teachers is introduced in Rasht Rayon
The Community Score Cards (CSC) was applied to assessing the quality of school education services in December 2013 in Rasht district for the first time in Tajikistan. This method implies engagement of school children and parents (as «service users») and teachers and school management (as «service providers») in defining indicators for assessing performance of their school, analysis of current probelms and joint eleboration of a plan for improving the school education services. The CSC method was piloted in Tajikabad district in August 2013 for assessing a rural water supply system. CSC are widely used for monitoring performance of services in many Asian countries. In particualr, this method proved to be effective in influencing the quality of school education.
This initiaiitve was implemented in the framework of the "Strengthening conflict management capacities for dialogue in conflict-prone areas of Tajikistan" project co-financed by UNDP and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. One of the project components aims at enhancing social cohesion and trust building between local authorities and communities in Rasht valley and increasing their capacities to manage local development process.
he CSC method allows animate the work of Parents-Teachers Association and Students Committes through establishing close coolaboration between the two.
CSC was introduced in school № 26, Yaldamich village of Rast district.
The CSC assessement was conducted in several steps:
1. As the first step, school children, parents and teachers were aquainted with the CSC method.
2. As the second step, a Score Card was eleborated, which implied collection and analysis of information by an Initiative Group of students and parent on various aspects of school functioning, begining from existing infrastructure and ending up with issues of budget and internal school management. As a result of this analysis, indicators for assessing school performance were identified (so called «Score Card»).
3. As the third step, each group – pupils, parents and teachers - assessed seperately the school by these indicators using a 5-grade scale. Then on all indicators an average score was culculated.
4. Finally, the results of the schol performance assessement were discussed between the three groups and a joint plan of action for the improvements of school services was eleborated.
Among the main issues, reflected in the joint action plan were: mobilisation of community for rearranging the sport ground; eleborating a project proposal for sport hall construction and lobbying its inclusion into the District Development Plan; establishing caterying services in the school (small stall) in cooperation with a local enterpreneur; increasing coverage of students with extra classess education in languages, chemistry and phisics; installation of heating stoves in the classes that are not heated; setting up a joint working group for culculating fuel and financial resources inputs required for maintaining a generator that would support the computer class in winter; eleboration of a list of rights and responsibilities for students and teachers; transferring responsbility for the maintannce of the school information board to the Students Commitee; installation of a box for filing compains and suggestions in school; periodic joint review of school budget expenditure and additionally mobilised funds; and the key issue – constant joint planning and monitoring of plans aimed at improvements in the school.
The new method allowed establishing dialogue between schoolchildren, parents and teachers. It started changing the passive consumer attidude towards school education that had been preveiling among parents and children and introduced the spirit of democracy into school management. Besides, it gave a chance to teachers and parents to see a different side of their pupils and children who, as it turned, have great potential and willingness to do something for their school. Also, all the participants realised that such close collaboration and students’ enagement into school affairs provides students a possibility not only to learn subjects at school but also to aquire skills of democratic governance and open communication with adults.
Next assessement with the use of the CSC method will be conducted in several months, in order to monitor progress on the main indicators and perfomance in the action plan implementation. However, considerable amount of joint work is to be accomplished by the Parents-Teacher Association and the Students Commitee of the school № 26 in Yaldamich community prior to this.
The Community Score Card as the method of joint assessement and planning of improvements in schools can become an important instrument of cooperation between Parents-Teachers Associations and Students Committees. Aplication of this new approach is expected to lead not only to the improvement in school education services but also to important experience of democratisation in the schools of Tajikistan.