Last year, 15 Plan staff members, 11 teachers from regional departments of Bafata and Gabu, two staff members of APRDEL, members of school management committees and parent teachers associations received training on school governance.
The aim of the training was to ensure that members of communities understand their role and responsibilities and reinforce community involvement in school management issues as a way of ensuring projects sustainability. Specific topics covered included involvement of children’s participation in school decision making and healthy school management without violence.
300 primary school children (150 girls, 150 boys) from ten communities in the regions of Bafata and Gabu received training over five days in children’s participation in decision making processes, active participation in school management and the role of the school government. Participants were also encouraged to engage with regional structures on education issues.
After the training, school governments were then democratically elected by all school children in the ten communities. The school government is modelled on a national government structure in that there are ministries of finance, agriculture, health etc. The relevant ministry then addresses issues they feel are important and engages with school authorities and the community as necessary.
The Agriculture Ministry leads on the management of the school gardens and the Health Ministry leads on the management of water and sanitation facilities in the schools. The school governments are better able to engage with teachers, School Management Committees and Parent Teacher Associations. The school governments have expressed that they feel as if they are more included in the school and have more influence in issues relating to their education.
The School Governments are developing action plans for the coming academic year. The participation of children will be measured through their reports and action plans designed to address the needs of school management.
“Community members are really happy to see this positive change Plan has been promoting in their villages. We can see that in their faces,” said Lome Sanca, Plan Guinea-Bissau’s Education Coordinator.