» SUPPORT FOR EDUCATIONAL REFORM PROGRAM
The program was aimed at increasing the transparency of educational budgets by developing the financial management capacities of school administrators and increasing citizen oversight over schools’ budget expenditures. In addition to working with a team of local lawyers to analyze draft education legislation, Eurasia Partnership Foundation was partnering with two local organizations, BUTA –Children’s Humanitarian Foundation in Baku and Knowledge Public Union in Ganja, to train school administrators on assessing and prioritizing their most pressing needs and designing annual budgets with parental and community members’ involvement.
The following activities in the framework of the project were fulfilled (1) elections facilitated in 14 schools to select Parent Committees and School Councils. School Councils developed action plans to oversee budgetary spending; (2) trainings in application of the new decentralized financing mechanism for school administrators conducted for 5 staff (including the director, deputy director, accountant, chairman of school council and representative of the parent committee) from 14 schools; (3) thematic round-table discussions held with school administrators and independent councils on application of new extra-budgetary funding mechanism; (4) network of 14 pilot schools established in Ali-Bayramli (Shirvan) region; (5) 10-14 small grants provided by EPF to support joint school-community initiatives; (6) round-table held with the Ministries of Finance and Education, together with their local offices and schools to clarify the mechanisms that are available to schools for budgeting and fundraising; (7) web-based portal developed on the issues of transition to decentralized financing of schools, community-school initiatives, extra-budgetary money and parental involvement in school management, etc.; (8) series of articles in professional journals published and debates on public TV on the new decentralized financing scheme for schools to raise public awareness of the initiative; (9) an international conference in Baku held to share experiences with similar initiatives undertaken in countries of the CIS; (10) policy paper developed on obstacles in implementation of new extra-budgetary funding mechanism, including recommendations on how to overcome the obstacles; policy paper submitted to Ministry of Education.