Transparency on the management of pro-poor educational incentives is the theme of workshop in Brasilia
The International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP – UNESCO) gathered 20 specialists, managers and researchers from different countries to discuss the risks of corruption and irregularities in educational programs aimed at those in need in Brasília on 5 and 6 November. The International Workshop about Transparency in Targeting and Managing Pro-Poor Educational Incentives took place at the UNESCO Office in Brazil.
The workshop’s main goals were: raising awareness about the main corruption risks associated to several management models for educational incentives in favor of the poor (such as school subsidies, scholarships, free schools meals, etc.); exchanging successful experiences between participant countries to minimize such risks; and preparing a set of orientations for relevant policy-makers and stakeholders about “good practices” so as to improve transparency and accountability in education management.
According to IIEP, corruption risks brought about by those programs are seldom looked into, although experience shows that they may be subject to irregularities such as: forged data or records, collusion of personnel and beneficiaries, resource acquisition by local elite, etc.
Such was the motivation for the Institute to undertake, in 2011, an international research about educational programs implemented in seven countries: Brazil, Cambodia, India, Peru, South Africa, the USA and Vietnam. The meeting was the first opportunity to share and discuss results of that study with the authors, who presented their core conclusions of researches conducted in their respective countries.
In Brazil, the research involved the National Program for School Meals (PNAE), that directs resources towards school meals, benefitting 4.5 million students of the Federal Network. The Brazilian case study focused on the implementation of the Program in the city of Cajuru, located in one of the three poorest regions in the State of São Paulo.
In Cajuru, the program was considered a good example because of the PNAE legislation, the well-defined rules and legal tools employed in the promotion of transparency and accountability. The equitable and universal character of the program were also pointed out as program features that help prevent scarcity, discrimination, embezzlement and high costs. The study verifies, however, that control, supervision and social participation are not satisfactory within the School Meals Board (CAE) in Cajuru.
IIPE specialist Muriel Poisson, who coordinated the workshop, highlighted that, besides exchanging experiences about the best practices in the country, the meeting was important for the discussion of recommendations such as “improving control mechanisms in the programs, community mobilization, access to information and provision of data for the population”.