Providing better education services to the poor: Accountability and context in the case of Guatemalan decentralization

Alec Ian Gershberg, Ben Meade, Sven Andersson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore how two community-based reform models align with the World Bank's World Development Report 2004 accountability framework. Using a qualitative case study of rural Guatemalan primary schools, we examine local governance through interviews with a range of stakeholders. While both reforms appear appropriate according to the World Bank's accountability framework, especially the model giving a greater authority to parents, both in practice encounter challenges associated with design issues - mainly human resource management involving both inadequate support and lower compensation for teachers in one of the models - and difficulties in adapting the reform models to local context. Overall, the accountability framework provides a useful heuristic and lens to view project design and implementation, but, as with any generalization derived from "best practice," details matter. We discuss the importance of highlighting common challenges of reforms like "decentralization" that, while gaining recognition globally, involve local communities in education management and the importance of local context in determining the success of such reforms. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-200
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration

Free keywords

  • Educational reform
  • Accountability
  • World Bank
  • Guatemala
  • Educational administration
  • Decentralization


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