Examples and Programmes around the World
El Salvador EDUCO Basic Education Modernization Project

EL Salvador's Community-Managed Schools Programme (EDUCO: Educacion con Participacion de la Comunidad) has been remarkably successful in expanding educational opportunities for the poor in rural areas. Decentralization has also been instrumental in getting families and communities more involved in their children's schooling. In 1990 education indicators in El Salvador were among the worst in Latin America, with high levels of repetition and drop-out. The net enrolment rate was 79%, drop-out rate 15.3% and the average annual promotion rate was 77%. By 1997 education indicators already showed significant improvement, with the net enrolment rate increasing to 88%, the drop-out rate decreasing to 4.5%, and the annual promotion rate increasing to 87%.
The Ministry of Education in El Salvador initiated the innovative EDUCO Programme in 1991, with support from the World Bank and IDB, as well as parents and teachers associations, and local NGOs. The Programme, which envisages a self-managed, private form of education, was intended to address coverage and quality problems in rural areas. In each of the EDUCO schools, there is autonomous management by an elected Community Education Association, drawn from the parents o students. In these schools, the Associations are contracted by the Ministry to deliver c given curriculum to an agreed number of students, and are then responsible for contracting (and dismissing) teachers, and for equipping and maintaining the schools.
By March 1996, about 1,700 parents' associations were managing 3,550 classrooms and serving 160,000 students, about 15% of that age group. By the end of 1996, the Ministry had expanded the autonomous model to all of its 4,000 elementary and middle schools. The results thus far show that families and communities are much more involved with schooling, which suggests that this decentralized model for education service provision is successful in this context. It may also provide a model for a broader reform of the national basic education system

Source: World Bank - l998