DECENTRALISATION: STATEMENT FROM THE PROGRAMME DIRECTOR
The Ministry of Education (MOE) is pursuing the decentralisation of its operations as the priority reform activity for delivering the desired educational services. This is in keeping with the national strategic goals as outlined in the Vision 2020 Draft National Strategic Plan. Indeed since 1993, the MOE has been attempting to implement the restructuring and decentralisation strategies as identified in the Report of the National Task Force on Education. In December 1993, the Cabinet agreed to the decentralisation of certain functions of the MOE and the delegation of responsibilities to school supervisors and principals. This represented the first phase of a move towards greater community involvement in the administration of education.
Restructuring seeks the most efficient arrangement of organisational entities so that each might best concentrate on its appointed tasks, receiving and giving what assistance is required from or to, above, below and across (Ralph Romain, 2002) .
Decentralisation, from a public administration perspective, refers to the transfer of state/national responsibilities of functions from central government to sub-national levels of government, or from central agencies/offices to regional bodies or branch offices or to non-governmental organisations or private concerns. Alternatively, according to Mc Ginn and Welch (1999), decentralisation is looked at as shifts in the location of those who govern, about transfers of authority from those in one location or level vis-a-vis education organisations, to those in another level.
The Restructuring and Decentralisation Action Unit was established in 2003 vide Cabinet Minute No. 209. The Unit was given the responsibility to spearhead the decentralisation efforts and to provide guidance and support to the directors and heads of divisions and units for the achievement of the following deliverables:
The Unit is headed by a Programme Director, Dr Janet Stanley-Marcano who is supported by a team of project officers and non-technical staff.
The RDAU holds steadfastly to the major goals articulated for the restructuring and decentralisation of the MOE:
- improved effectiveness and success of schools
- improved student achievement
- more efficient delivery of service and resources to schools
- improved supervision and evaluation
- democratisation of the system, thereby allowing for greater stakeholder and community involvement in the decision making process
- greater efficiency in management and governance of the system.
See “The Way Forward” for more information on the restructuring and decentralisation programme: its rationale, the objectives pursued and the critical milestones identified.
Restructuring and Decentralisation Action Unit
Address: Ibis Building, London Street, Port of Spain