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Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

Better Managers, Better Schools! Training Strengthens Governance of Primary Schools

MoE Tutor

A Ministry of Education tutor inducts board members from different primary schools in Baringo County on their mandates.

Esther Chelagat, 42; Musa Bonde, 58; and Julius Talam, 39; all have one thing in common: they are elected members of boards of management (BoMs) of primary schools in Kenya’s Baringo County. Chelagat is the board vice-chairperson and a parent at Lombogishu Primary School, Bonde is the head teacher at Kelelwa Primary School, and Talam is the board chairperson at Kipsogon Primary School. The trio was among hundreds of participants who attended an induction training in February 2017 that was held to address one of the biggest challenges they face in their roles as school managers–lack of adequate knowledge and preparation to effectively govern primary schools.

"I’ve been a school manager for almost six years and this is the first time I’ve received training on the management and functions of our school boards," says Chelagat.

"At my board, members are not clear about their roles and responsibilities, which limits robust participation by all members in governance decisions," adds Talam.

The BoMs training is a Ministry of Education (MoE) initiative and the first of its kind in the country implemented with support from SUNY/CID’s Agile and Harmonized Assistance for Devolved Institutions (AHADI) Program, USAID’s flagship governance activity. The trainings were piloted in Baringo and Taita Taveta counties and are planned for rollout to all of Kenya’s 47 counties.

"The Basic Education Act, 2013 establishes primary school boards of management and outlines their composition and functions. To ensure that our BoMs are being effective, the Ministry of Education aims to conduct a nation-wide training to be implemented in phases," said Senior Assistant Director of Education, Agnes Odawa.

To ensure sustainability of the process, AHADI first supported the MoE to develop resource books and conduct a training of trainers exercise for 680 BoM tutors. MoE facilitated the process by mobilizing its officers to serve as tutors and by securing training venues within school compounds. During the pilot phase, 100 tutors trained over 6,300 board members in the two counties.

"This induction training has helped to address many disagreements in our board on mandates and resource management," says Bonde, "We've also learned about ongoing reforms in the education sector that will impact our work.

"The knowledge we’ve received has empowered us to step more confidently into our roles and uphold the best interests of our schools and our children," says Chelagat.

"We are really excited and thankful for the partnership and support we have received through USAID AHADI. This initiative will transform how our schools are run and will institutionalize efficient management of basic education in Kenya," says Odawa.

Building on the lessons learned from the two county pilots, AHADI is currently supporting the MoE to rollout the BoM training exercise in Kisii and Kericho counties, to benefit over 5,000 school managers from more than 1,000 primary school boards. The MoE and AHADI collaboration should ultimately reach 68,000 school board management members in all of Kenya’s 47 counties.

The purpose of the USAID-funded AHADI project is to help Kenya achieve the promise of devolution through a governance system that is more transparent, accountable, effective in service delivery, and responsive to empowered citizens.

Map of BOM Trainings.

See more of SUNY/CID's work in Kenya

Posted June 21, 2017