September 14, 2005
Publication:
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School

In February and March, 2005, research was carried out in Tanah Datar District, West Sumatra Province, Indonesia for one of nine case studies in support of a World Bank analytical project, "Making Services Work For the Poor." The objective of the case studies was to illustrate the impact of service delivery innovation on (a) stakeholders' behavior and (b) access to and quality of the service. The Ash Institute of Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in collaboration with the Ford Foundation International Innovations Liaison Group, has served as a partner in this project.

Two innovative education policies are highlighted in this case study: the Stronger Incentives Policy, which rewarded best-performing English teachers and headmasters with training and study visits overseas, and the Smaller Classes Policy, which limited class size in senior high schools to 30 students. As a result of the new policies, over 200 school staff were sent overseas, all public (but not all private) senior high schools, as well as some junior high and elementary schools, have cut class sizes. Key changes in attitude and behavior included increased motivation to do better work on the part of English teachers and headmasters, changes in teaching methodology on the part of some English teachers, increased interest in student performance on the part of teachers and headmasters, increased support for the Bupati (governor) by those who benefited from the policies, and an increase in reform mindedness of government education and school staff. Access to senior high school education decreased for some children. Changes in quality of education included improved teaching skills at the better schools, and broader educational offerings and better facilities at better schools. There was, however, an increased financial burden on some schools and teachers, and an overall increase in inequity among schools. Key to the positive impact of the reforms were changes in national government policy, the vision, imagination and leadership of the Bupati, and effective policy implementation. Factors which limited positive impact included inadequate dissemination of the new policies, lack of follow-up from study trips, the decision not to legalize the reforms, ineffective use of local government, insufficient numbers of classrooms, and no targeting of the poor and disadvantaged.

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