School governance and current trends of school-community relationship: School Based Management experiences of Sri Lanka

Chandana Kasturiarachchi


This article discusses the community participation and decision making in the schools where the Programme for School Improvement (PSI), the Sri Lankan version of School Based Management (SBM) programme is being implemented in Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka (MoESL) has projected to enhance the community participation in school affairs by implementing the PSI (MoESL, 2005,2008,2013,2014). A few number of Colombo district government schools were selected as the research location/site in this study. Particularly this study aimed to explore the nature of participation of community members in school affairs, and also to identify challenges with regard to community participation and decision making at theschool level. Since this study aimed at exploring the insights and the experiences of the participants, case study research approach was used. Questionnaires, document surveys, and interviews were employed to gather information from principals, deputy principals, teaching staff, parents and past pupils on the School Development Committees (SDC), and the participants of this empirical research study represented ten public schools in the Colombo district.  Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were employed to analyze the data in this study. This study revealed that the internal community members of schools are not much enthusiastic to welcome ideas, suggestions, and criticisms of external community members when they make decisions at theschool level. Most governing board decisions of schools are influenced by the principals. Therefore, the decision-making process does not seem as democratic and transparent as expected by the MoESL. Lack of time, shortage of financial resources, and less commitment of higher education officers destructively influence the community participation and decision making at theschool level. Lack of awareness and training on SBM and school management of stakeholders directly affect the effectiveness of the implementation of the SBM in these schools. Therefore, it is required to pay immediate attention on thetraining of stakeholders, and also supervision of schools and the governing board members who are involved in the decision making of schools.

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