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Educational Infrastructure, School Construction, & Decentralization in Developing Countries: Key Issues for an Understudied Area

  • Alec Ian Gershberg

    (The New School)

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    Poor and insufficient school infrastructure negatively impacts student learning and schooling outcomes. Myriad factors have contributed to an infrastructure gap in the education sector in many countries – rapid increases in enrolments, poor maintenance and aging capital stocks, rural to urban migration, and inefficient government planning and school construction to name a few. Various forms of decentralization are likely to be involved both to improve governance and accountability and to foster innovation and cost saving in the school construction industry and investment and project cycle. This paper first discusses why the topic is interesting and worth considering; next we lay out the issues and considerations specific to educational infrastructure decentralization; we then connect the discussion to the broader infrastructure discussions in the other papers as well as to the education decentralization literature. We examine an illustrative case study in Egypt exemplifying both the typical centralization of a national school construction authority, and the reasons for countries to consider certain kinds of decentralization. The case also highlights that school construction reforms involving potential decentralization are a long slog dominated and driven by politics. We provide a framework for un-packaging and considering key components of the processes involved in service provision and some promising strategies relating to decentralization. We conclude with some insights for practitioners and others interested in advancing knowledge of the topic.

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    Paper provided by International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU with number paper1412.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: 14 Jan 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1412
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    1. Gershberg, Alec Ian & González, Pablo Alberto & Meade, Ben, 2012. "Understanding and Improving Accountability in Education: A Conceptual Framework and Guideposts from Three Decentralization Reform Experiences in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 1024-1041.
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