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Research Questions

  1. How has school-based management (SBM) progressed in Indonesia?
  2. How can SBM be improved?

This study provides a quantitative and qualitative status report on the implementation of school-based management (SBM) in Indonesia, identifies factors associated with the successful practices of SBM, and assesses SBM effects on student achievement eight years after its inception. The authors' findings are based on face-to-face surveys of principals, teachers, school committee members, and parents; surveys of district staff; and a case study. SBM required a major shift in how people think about schooling and a significant improvement in the capacity of principals, teachers, and the community to provide leadership, develop programmatic alternatives to meet local educational needs, and engage parents and the community in the governance of schools. Implementation of SBM so far has met with limited success. Although most principals reported that they had the autonomy to make school decisions, they also said that they did not take advantage of it by making significant programmatic and instructional changes. Districts continued to strongly influence school policies and practices. School committee and parental involvement in school affairs was minimal. Both expressed an attitude of noninterference with school matters and deference to school staff. All school-level stakeholders said that they were not well prepared to provide effective leadership. Improving implementation and the outcomes of SBM in Indonesia will require expanding principal, teacher, and school committee member capacity to implement SBM; increasing school staff ability to make operational and instructional changes; and developing district capacity to support schools and SBM.

Key Findings

School Autonomy Is Critical to Successful Implementation of School-Based Management

  • Most principals believed that they had autonomy over their school's operational, budgetary, programmatic, and instructional decisions.
  • Many principals did not take advantage of this autonomy and routinely sought approval of their district supervisor or other district staff before making decisions.
  • Districts continue to exercise a great deal of influence on school-level policies and operations.

Principal Influence and Understanding of SBM Is Especially Critical

  • Principals, teachers, and school committee members had a poor understanding of school-based management (SBM).
  • More than half of principals reported that they either had not received any training in SBM in the past year or found it insufficient and were not well prepared to provide leadership.

Parental Influence over School Matters Is Lacking and School Funding Is Uneven

  • Community and parental participation in school affairs remains to be achieved.
  • Parents generally deferred to school staff on school matters.
  • The availability of discretionary resources differed greatly across schools, with some schools reporting receiving less funding per student than other schools.


Expand school committee, principal, and teacher capacity to implement school-based management (SBM).

  • Make it easier for school committee members to participate in SBM.
  • Upgrade the knowledge of school committee members.
  • Increase the authority of school committee members.
  • Upgrade principal and teacher capacity to implement SBM.
  • Provide leadership training.
  • Provide principal and teachers with professional development on effective SBM practices.
  • Broaden school autonomy.

Expand school committee, principal, and teacher capacity to implement school-based management (SBM).

  • Assess the need for and provide professional development and use the results to set training priorities.
  • Expand access to teaching aids.
  • Address resource disparities between schools.

Develop district capacity to support SBM.

  • Alter the role of districts to that of an enabler of change.
  • Expand district capacity to provide ongoing technical assistance.
  • Provide staff development to principals, teachers, and school committee members.

This work was sponsored by the World Bank. The research was conducted in RAND Education, a unit of the RAND Corporation.

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