Project: Transparency and Accountability in Mongolian Education (TAME) Project
Executing Agency: Globe International Center
Grant Amount: $650,000
Closing Date: December 2018
Frame and Challenge
In recent years, Mongolia has become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. Economic growth has been mainly driven by use and trade its vast mineral resources. Increased revenues generated from the mining industry provide Mongolia with an opportunity to radically transform the country and improve development outcomes. This is already beginning to take place as reflected in the falling poverty rates over the last decade. However, more needs to be done in order to set out on a sustainable growth path, including accounting for service deliveries to over 50% of the population, which has flocked to urban areas and the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
There are serious challenges, particularly in the education sector, that need to be addressed before the country can sustain economic growth. Educational outcomes need to be improved across the board in order to prepare provide students with critical skills to effectively participate in the labor market. Rural areas are characterized by low students’ performance and poor learning outcomes. Communities suffer from disparities in access to education, a problem that is aggravated in geographically isolated regions. Furthermore, relevant government authorities have limited data available on education performance and budgets from provincial and district levels.
Globe International Center, an organization with nearly 20 years of experience working on governance issues, has been awarded a GPSA grant to improve the quality of service delivery in the education sector by strengthening citizen engagement in the monitoring of budgets and procurement processes in order to ensure transparency and accountability. More specifically, this will be done by: 1) forming Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and training them to apply social accountability tools to monitor school performance at the district level; 2) strengthening the capacity of CSOs and media to monitor budgets and procurement processes in the education sector in eight targeted provinces; and 3) capturing knowledge from implementation and lessons learned to inform education reform in Mongolia and other countries around the world.
Results in the targeted 28 schools in rural aimags (districts) thus far include but are not limited to:
1. 11% increase in civic engagement in education budget monitoring activities in the three targeted aimags.
2. At 20 schools, parents and teachers now engage collaboratively in Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs).
3. The PTAs have learned to engage with local officials on education quality, through the especially developed ‘Good School Support Tool’ (community scorecard). Their capacity to advocate for school improvements has been strengthened, and principals and local officials have started to identify the PTAs as allies.
4. Transparency of district-level education budget expenditures is gradually improving, as a result of implementation of the ‘Budget Trust Tool’ in 6 districts.
The design of this grant has benefitted from the lessons learned by Globe International Center in raising citizen awareness and promoting access to information. This experience has been useful to help PTAs access and use critical information about budgets and procurement processes in the education sector. There are further takeaways from the project thus far, including but not limited to:
The involvement and participation of parents in the school monitoring process is key to mobilizing efforts to reform school regulations and improve the physical infrastructure of schools.
NGO presence at stakeholder meetings encouraged participants to confidently and actively engage in budgeting and procurement processes. The tendency to participate this actively was lower without the NGO presence.
The Good School Assessment Tool is an example of the possibility of positive spillover from GPSA projects, as the tool was picked up and planned to be implemented in nearby districts by the head of the Mongolian Education Department.
To learn more about this and related area and sector projects, check out the links below:
Blog by Program Manager, Jeff Thindwa: Social Accountability can help Improve the Quality of Education