Exploring the collaborative role of government and the Catholic Church in education decentralization in Rwanda : a case study of two secondary schools in Nyarugenge District.

Kabayiza, Barnabe
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The aim of this study was to explore and understand the kind of partnership that exists at secondary school level between government, Catholic Church, school administration and parents. And the way these parties perceive and assume their respective duties and responsibilities, and the relationships with one another in the new school decentralised dispensation. By 2000, Rwanda restructured the education system by initiating school decentralisation reforms and devolving more powers and responsibilities to districts, schools and community. The literature on education decentralization, state and non-government provider partnerships in education theories is reviewed to identify the main issues to investigate. This study relies on taped in-depth interviews with school committees‘ members, education officers as well as documents analysis. All this enabled the researcher to answer four research sub-questions: (1) how do school committees perceive and exercise their powers and responsibilities in contributing to school development?; (2) how do school committees and the school administration work together in contributing to school development?; (3) how do Catholic Church authorities contribute to the managerial and/or professional issues and school needs? and; (4) how do the government and the Catholic Church collaborate for school development? The study discovered that, despite the reluctance of school committees to be involved in school financial management, they were eager to be involved in schools governance and school development. They undertook activities aimed at raising school funds, volunteering in school activities requesting their expertise, contributing to some school decision making and attending successfully school meetings. Moreover, results have shown that the school committees and the school community (school principals, teachers and staff) manage to work together to face the challenges of lack of capacity. Even though the Catholic Church financial support to schools has been reduced, the Catholic Church contributes via its teaching to the mobilization of the community for school development, for charitable actions, and collecting funds from aid agencies. The study recommends that the government and Catholic Church continue to collaborate to build the governance capacity of the school committees, that school principals and teachers manage to create a welcoming school environment, that the department establish a system vi support that provides information about schools‘ academic and financial performance relative to other schools, closing the gap in the existing regulations and guidelines on the respective power and responsibilities pertaining to each of stakeholders in partnership for school development. The study recommends further studies on the implementation of school decentralization in remote rural schools; the impact of the socio-economic status of school committee members on their commitment to their children‘s school development; the factors underlying teacher‘s attitude towards their involvement in financial and administrative decision making; and a comparative research of similar non catholic and Catholic schools and how they implement differently school decentralization.
Education decentralization, Non-government provider, Private school, Subsidised school, School decentralization, School committee, School administration, Leadership and management