Advantages and disadvantages of consolidating school districts within a state
The current consensus is that tertiary education, and specific functions such as curriculum design and standards setting are best retained by the center; secondary and primary education should be devolved as far as possible; local participation in school management improves accountability, and responsiveness, and fosters resource mobilization.
Yet, the devil is in the details, and there are many details that need to be sorted out on a country by country basis.
While there are solid theoretical justifications for decentralizing education systems, the process requires strong political commitment and leadership in order to succeed.
The path, depth, and ultimately, the outcome of decentralization reforms depend on the motivations for reforms, the initial country and sector conditions, and the interaction of various important coalitions within the sector.
In particular, governments with severe fiscal constraints are enticed by the potential of decentralization to increase efficiency.
The term decentralization is used to describe a wide variety of power transfer arrangements and accountability systems.
Policies range from the transfer of limited powers to lower management levels within current health management structures and financing mechanisms to extensive sectoral reform efforts which reconfigure the provision of even the most basic services.
These results are supported by experiences in Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
However, the design of these decentralized systems have been criticized.