Business as Usual: District Education Authorities in Punjab

Business as Usual: District Education Authorities in Punjab

  • Case

The recently established District Education Authorities (DEAs) are expected to improve governance of government schools in Punjab by decentralizing authority to local stakeholders. Presumably, grassroots level elected representatives will oversee the performance of schools more effectively than has been the case so far. However, a critical assessment shows DEAs to be largely irrelevant to improving governance and quality of education in government schools. DEAs place all hope of improving education delivery solely on better supervision of the existing human, physical, and financial resources. Even if this were possible – and this is a big if – it is unclear as to how the DEAs will take teaching to new heights from its present low or how the DEAs will produce the money they will need for the various necessary improvements at the schools. There seems to be little forward thinking accompanying the establishment of the DEAs on how to respond to key issues, such as improving the teaching effort, generating resources for expansion and improvement of the school infrastructure, and targeting out of school children. The DEAs are expected to somewhat rearrange, but not disturb, business as usual on the educational landscape in Punjab.

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