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School Based Management And School Changes Education Essay

Abstract

For more than three decades, School-Based Management (SBM) has become a global movement towards the quality of education. The ultimate goal of implementing SBM was to enhance quality of education in general and more particularly for better school improvement and increased student achievement. This article addresses the views of school stakeholders in exploring the association between SBM policy and school changes. The paper is on the basis of mixed-methods research design, combining quantitative and qualitative dimensions of research. The quantitative research design was applied through an empirical survey between February and June 2012, involving 318 respondents from 18 urban and sub-urban schools of Ngada, Flores, Indonesia. In addition to the survey, personal in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted, followed by documentary analyses.

Keywords – School-based management, school changes, Indonesia, Flores

Introduction

For more than three decades, School-Based Management (SBM) has become a global movement towards the quality of education. The ultimate goal of implementing SBM was to enhance quality of education in general and more particularly for better school improvements and student achievements. Research in the last twenty years affirm how SBM policy and programs have been evident to be effective for the improvement of schools and student learning outcomes (Bandur & Gamage, 2009; Bergman, 1992; Brown & Cooper, 2000; Caldwell, 2005; Dempster, 2000; Gamage, 2006, 1998; Kuehn, 1996; Odden & Wohlstetter, 1995; O’Neil, 1995; Sharpe, 1996).

Several studies have also consistently revealed a positive association between higher parental and/or community involvement and improved student achievement resulting from implementing effective SBM (Blank, 2004; Gamage, 1994; Sheldon & Voorhis, 2004; Williams, Harold, Robertson, & Southworth, 1997). For instance, on the basis of research conducted in the Victorian state schools system, involving 75 interviews, Gamage (1998: 313) found that healthier teaching and learning environments as well as improvement of student achievement could be achieved by the fact that the parents and teachers who are the closest to the students have formed a partnership and both parties are represented in the governing body with accountability. Similarly, Sheldon and Voorhis (2004: 127) affirm that many researchers have supported the idea of how community and parental involvement can improve schools and the quality of education that the children achieved as well as the academic achievement of students.

Several researchers also found how school-based management is associated with partnership in school decision-makings (Bandur, 2012; Blank, 2004; Gamage, 1998). For instance, Blank (2004: 62) asserts that schools can promote improvements in student learning by building relationships between schools and diverse community entities. He then clarifies that building partnerships that link school, family, and community is intimately connected to student achievement because linking schools and community resources leads to providing services and support that address various needs of the students. Partnership can also provide learning opportunities that enhance young people's social, emotional, and physical development as well as academic skills.

School changes in this article are related to: (1) how SBM policy has changed the absolute authority figure of school principals for school decision-makings; (2) how SBM policy encourage higher participation of parents and other school communities in schools; (3) how SBM policy change the fashion of financial management in schools; (4) how SBM policy create partnership in decision-making processes; and (5) how SBM has led to better teaching and learning environments. In the study, the general research questions were formulated as what are the results of implementing SBM policies and programs in schools as perceived by the school stakeholders?

What is School-Based Management?

School-Based Management (SBM) is a generic term in a response to change the centralistic and bureaucratic fashions of public school system toward more decentralized and democratic model. The term was born in mid-1960s in Australia after a public debate at the Australian National University, Canberra to choose a model of public school system that serve better students. Under the SBM scheme, power and authority in decision-making are shifted from governments to individual schools for better school improvement and increased student achievement. Later, the reform has appeared worldwide under various terms – site-based management, site-based decision making, school-based decision making, school-based governance, shared decision making, and even school-based initiatives. However, even though these terms represent the widespread education reform agenda, they vary slightly in meaning, particularly to the extent whether authority and responsibility are devolved to school councils or whether the councils are mandatory or not by laws and regulations. In this sense, similar to the SBM reforms in Chicago, USA and Victoria, Australia, Indonesian SBM model is mandatory, which means that all Indonesian public schools are compulsorily implementing SBM policy and programs on the basis of Law 20/2003 on National Education System and Government Regulation No.66/2010.

Based on research conducted in Victoria, the ACT and NSW, and other countries, Gamage (1996: 65) defines SBM as a pragmatic approach to a formal alteration of the bureaucratic model of school administration with a more democratic structure. It identifies the individual school as the primary unit of improvement relying on the redistribution of decision-making authority through which improvements in a school are stimulated and sustained. In this context, the focus on facilitating improvements in the individual school as the key to successful educational reform strategies has a good deal of public appeal and other research support (Gamage & Zajda, 2005; Gamage, 2003; Whitty, Power & Halpin, 1998; Cheng, 1996; Odden & Wohlstetter, 1995).

Marburger (1991: 25-26) considers SBM as an approach in which decisions that are traditionally made by a superintendent are now being made by the school council comprising of the principal, teachers, parents, citizens, and the students. Likewise, Anderson (2006: 223) defines SBM as “the shifting of decision-making authority from the district office to individual schools.” Many scholars also affirm that the movement towards SBM is often assumed as the approach to serve students better by improving the school practices in meeting the diverse expectations of the stakeholders in a changing environment towards increasing student performance and achievements (Cheng & Mok, 2007; Anderson, 2006; Caldwell, 2005; Gamage & Zajda, 2005; Gamage & Sooksomchitra, 2004; Muijs and Harris, et. al, 2004; Sheldon & Voorhis, 2004; Blank, 2004; Gamage, 1998, 1994).

Gamage (1996: 21-22) has proposed a revised theory of SBM based on twenty years of experience in the Australian SBM systems. In the revised theory, he has devised seven assumptions, on which to base a more realistic application of SBM. The first assumption is that a school council shall consist of all relevant stakeholders such as the principal or the head teacher and the representatives of staff (both teaching and non-teaching), parents, local community, and in the case of secondary schools, students. The representatives of the staff, parents, and students are expected to be elected by the relevant constituencies, whereas the community representatives are to be nominated by the other elected members and the school leader.

The second assumption is that the devolution or transfer of both authority and responsibility needs to be affected by a legislative enactment. This approach will transform the former advisory body to a democratic governing body. The third assumption is the heavy reliance on the voluntary participation of the parents, community, and student representatives in the process of policy formulation in governing the school. It is believed that the school stakeholders are motivated and dedicated to developing quality schools because of the genuine transfer of authority and responsibility.

The fourth assumption is that the lay councilors, with appropriate induction and training, will acquire sufficient knowledge to function as equal partners. The knowledge and experience of the lay-members who come from fields other than education are relevant and useful to the educational enterprise in order that the needs of contemporary schools are met. The fifth assumption is that because of de-zoning, the schools need to function in an interesting and effective mode that can improve the image of the school in a similar way to the business reputation of a private/public enterprise. Such an image will help attract high levels of school enrolments.

The sixth assumption is that SBM would be cost effective because the ownership of the policies and higher levels of commitment leads to minimization of costs and better utilization of limited resources. More resources would also be available as a result of minimizing the size of the educational bureaucracy, as well as drawing on previously untapped resources from the school community. The last assumption is that stricter control needs to be enforced by the centre to ensure accountability for the finances placed at the disposal of the school in conformity with the Ministerial/Departmental Guidelines relating to the operation of school councils. The principal is made accountable to the governing body and through it to the state’s education authorities, as well as to the school community. Submissions of regular progress reports to the governing body and annual reports to other relevant authorities and the school community are required.

Decentralization and SBM in Indonesia

Prior to the implementation of School-Based Management (SBM) in Indonesia, its system of education was highly centralized. Bjork (2003: 193) affirms that by the end of the twentieth century, Indonesia was among the most highly centralized nations in the world. However, the real transformation with the concept of decentralization commenced in May 1998, when there was a radical political movement towards decentralization (Aspinall & Fealy, 2003; Bangay, 2005; Bjork, 2006; Guess, 2005; Raihani, 2007). In terms of successful movements towards decentralization, Guess (2005: 220) claims that the Indonesian ‘big bang’ devolution program has been described as one of the fastest and most comprehensive decentralization initiatives ever attempted by any country in the region.

The decentralized system led to the implementation of educational decentralization through School-Based Management (SBM) which has been considered as a milestone in developing a better quality of national education (Departemen Pendidikan Nasional, 2004, 2002). For these reasons, on the basis of Law No.25/2000 on National Development Planning (2000-2004), the Indonesian Ministry of National Education, appointed a Komisi Nasional Pendidikan (KNP) or Commission of National Education in February 2001. The KNP worked until December 2001 with responsibilities, among others, to: (1) formulate policy recommendations to have a better quality education; (2) provide inputs to government about educational decentralization. It was expected that the work of this Commission would become a basis from which to comprehensively reform Indonesian education. One of the recommendations of the KNP was to develop educational councils at district level and school councils at school level.

Thus, developing educational and school councils was one of the educational decentralization policies, aimed at devolving power and authority from central government to schools, resulting in improvement of democratic principles, community participation, equity, as well as accommodation of diverse local interests and needs (Departemen Pendidikan Nasional, 2001: 26). It was believed that local communities are the ones who will understand their own problems and needs better and decided to provide them greater roles and responsibilities in terms of operational decision making on national education policies. For this purpose, the central government embarked on the formation of education councils and school councils in each district of Western Sumatera, Bali, and Eastern Java. On the basis of these trials, the councils were considered strategic in coping with improving the Indonesian national education.

Then, Government issued a set of guidelines in relation to the implementation of SBM in 2002 and later revised in 2004 in order to provide mandatory corporate governing body type school councils described as follows:

This concrete one-sidedness requires to be channeled politically to become collective action placed by Educational Council located in the district/city and School Council at the level of educational unit” (Departemen Pendidikan Nasional, 2002: 1).

Further, the Education Act 20/2003 on National Education System strengthened the formation of school councils. In accordance with the involvement of local communities in achieving better quality education, Article 56 of the Act provides that the community members are required to participate in improving the quality of education. In this case, the educational council and school council represent the community, as stated:

Community shall take part in the quality improvement of educational services, which include planning, monitoring, and evaluation of educational programs through the Educational Council and School Council (Education Act 20/2003, Article, 56).

The Act defines a school council as an independent body established to provide advice, directions and support for personnel, facilities and equipment, and monitoring of a school (Article 56). On the basis of the Act, Government regulated power and authority vested in the school councils, as well as characteristics and formation, membership and structure of a school council. It is clear that authority is devolved to school councils and the councils are empowered to create better quality education in their schools.

How SBM Change Schools

Currently, SBM has been evident to be effective for the improvement of schools and student learning outcomes (Bandur & Gamage, 2009; Bergman, 1992; Brown & Cooper, 2000; Caldwell, 2005; Dempster, 2000; Gamage, 2006, 1998; Kuehn, 1996; Odden & Wohlstetter, 1995; O’Neil, 1995; Sharpe, 1996). More particularly, Odden and Wohlstetter (1995: 32) identified the conditions that promote improved school performance through SBM. They discovered that school stakeholders in the schools in which SBM has been effectively implemented to improve school performance have the authority over budget, personnel, and curriculum. These successful schools implementing SBM have used their new power and authority to introduce changes that directly affect teaching and learning practices. They also found other conditions, including (1) professional development and training opportunities to strengthen teaching, management, and problem-solving skills of teachers and other stakeholders; (2) adequate information to make informed decisions about student performance, parent and community satisfaction, and school resources; and (3) systematic and creative in communicating with parents and the community.

Several studies have also consistently revealed a positive association between higher parental and/or community involvement and improved student achievements resulting from implementing effective SBM (Blank, 2004; Gamage, 1994; Sheldon & Voorhis, 2004; Williams, Harold, Robertson, & Southworth, 1997). For instance, on the basis of research conducted in the Victorian state schools system, involving 75 interviews, Gamage (1998: 313) reports that healthier teaching and learning environments as well as improvements of student achievements could be achieved by the fact that the parents and teachers who are the closest to the students have formed a partnership and both parties are represented in the governing body with accountability. Similarly, Sheldon and Voorhis (2004: 127) affirm that many researchers have supported the idea of how community and parental involvement can improve schools and the quality of education that the children achieved as well as the academic achievements of students.

Several researchers also found how school-based management is associated with partnership (Bandur, 2012; Blank, 2004; Gamage, 1998). For instance, Blank (2004: 62) asserts that schools can promote improvements in student learning by building relationships between schools and diverse community entities. He then clarifies that building partnerships that link school, family, and community is intimately connected to student achievements because linking schools and community resources leads to providing services and support that address various needs of the students. Partnership can also provide learning opportunities that enhance young people's social, emotional, and physical development as well as academic skills.

Research Design and Methods

The research design employed in this study was the mixed-methods design. The design has advantages to attain valid and reliable research outcomes as well as to provide specific techniques and strategies by which the researchers are guided in data collection procedures and data analyses (Creswell, 2005; Creswell & Clark, 2007). More particularly, this study employed the concurrent triangulation strategy, which primarily aims at using separate quantitative and qualitative research as a means to offset the weaknesses inherent within one method with the strengths of the other method. In this context, the quantitative and qualitative data collection is concurrent, happening in one phase of the research study. The strategy integrates the results of the two methods during the interpretation phase. In the data collection phase of this study, the empirical survey was conducted concurrently with in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and documentary analyses. As the primary goal of conducting interviews was to seek clarifications and deeper understanding on the issues emerged in the empirical surveys, the results of quantitative data analysis and qualitative data analysis were combined.

Research method is more specific than research design. Research methods are techniques of data collection and analysis, such as a quantitative standardized instrument or a qualitative theme analysis of text data (Creswell, 2005; Creswell & Clark, 2007). In this study, the term mixed-methods research means to the research design which has philosophical assumptions to guide the direction of the data collection and analyses. As methods of inquiry, it focuses on collecting, analyzing, and mixing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study.

For the purpose of quantitative data collection, questionnaire was employed for obtaining close items and scale items related to the objectives of the study. The close items allow the respondents to choose from two or more fixed alternatives, for example, the dichotomous items which provide two alternatives only: yes or no, while the scale is a set of items to which the respondents respond by indicating degrees of agreement or disagreement (Burns, 1994, p. 349).

The questionnaire of the study consisted of two major parts. The first main part is about the demographic information of respondents for the purposes of providing descriptive statistics, including: school location, gender of respondents, ages of respondents and their position in schools. The second part is about respondents’ perspective on the results of implementing School-Based Management (SBM) policy and programs; general functions of communication in schools; the importance of communication for school improvements and student achievements; communication networks in schools; and styles and strategies of communication of school leaders within the SBM framework.

For the purposes of qualitative data collection, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) were used to obtain open-ended information. These techniques of data collection were useful for providing better insight of the research problems. For this reason, the researcher the researcher set up two major steps. The first step dealt wit selected the key informants. Accordingly, fourteen key informants (principals and school council presidents) in seven schools were interviewed personally face to face. In addition, FGDs with seven groups of teachers in the schools were conducted. All interviews were recorded in the digital-tape recording and note-books for checking validity and reliability.

Validity and Reliability of the Item Scales

Several statisticians (Brace, Kemp, & Snelgar, 2006; Manning & Munro, 2006) affirm that the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is a type of Factor Analysis which is used to explore the possibility of a factor structure underlying the variables. In particular, Manning and Munro (2006) explain the usefulness of PCA to measure the validity of variables. In the context of quantitative research, validity is simply defined as “the degree to which it measures what it claims to measure” (Manning & Munro, 2006; Wiersma & Jurs, 2005; Pallant, 2005; Best & Kahn, 1998). The results of Principal Component Analysis demonstrate that the factor loadings of all scale items were ranged from .72 to .97 and the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) of Sampling Adequacy was statistically significant (Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity, p = .000) and ranged from .64 to .87. These results clearly indicate a good factorability (Brace, Kemp, & Snelgar, 2006, p. 318).

Reliability in quantitative research refers to the consistency of the methods, conditions, and results (Manning & Munro, 2006; Wiersma & Kurs, 2005; Pallant, 2005; Best & Kahn, 1998). There are three common ways of testing reliability in quantitative research, namely, test-retest reliability, split-half reliability, and coefficient (Munning & Munro, 2006; Pallant, 2005). The test-retest approach is applied when a researcher tests the same set of people on two different occasions and the scores from the first test is correlated with the scores from the second test. In the split-half reliability, a researcher administers questionnaires only once and split the items used to create composite variable into two equivalent halves, followed by creating two composite variables from these two sets and correlate them.

For the purpose of this study, the coefficient alpha (also known as Cronbach’s alpha) was applied. The values of coefficient alpha above .70 are considered to represent “acceptable” reliability, above .80 “good reliability”, and above .90 to represent “excellent” reliability. The values of coefficient alpha of this instrument ranged from .82 to .95, indicating good and excellent reliability (Manning & Munro, 2006, p.25).

Results and Discussions

Demographic Information

In the study, several variables in relation to demographic information were analyzed for providing the general background of respondents. These include location, genders, qualification of formal education, positions in schools, and ages of respondents. The majority of respondents (57%) were located in district town schools of Ngada, while 43% of them were from village schools located in Golewa Sub-district area. Then, the majority of respondents (53%) were male, while 47% of them were female. Meanwhile, most of respondents (39%) graduated from bachelor degrees, while 36% of them graduated from diploma educational institutions. Meanwhile, 25% of respondents had the high school teacher training education or senior high school.

The biggest percentage (38%) of respondents in the empirical survey was parents, followed by teachers and school council members (26% and 24% respectively). Other respondents were administrative staff (9%) and principals in seven schools (2%). Most of the respondents (40%, N=318) were between 41 and 50 years old. Twenty-six of them were between 31 and 40 years old, while small percentages of respondents were between 51-60 and 20-30 years old (20% and 14% respectively).

Opinion on the Current Practice of SBM Policy

In Indonesia, the policy in decentralized education system through School-Based Management (SBM) was actually the initiatives made by the Central government in Jakarta. Fortunately, the initiative was strongly supported by international donor agencies. In Flores, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) provided assistance for school stakeholders in the areas of SBM policies and programs, including the devolution of authority and responsibility from governments to school councils in terms of building new schools, building renovation, library, school text books, school curriculum, school development planning, monitoring anf evaluation, school operational grants, as well as how joyful teaching and learning is linked to active participation of the whole school community members. An analysis was made in this study to find out the overall impression of school stakeholders on the current implementation of SBM policies and programs. As shown in Table 1, all respondents in the empirical survey perceived the implementation of School-Based Management (SBM) either adequate (5%), good (46%) or excellent (48%). This implies that SBM policies and programs in these schools were applicable.

Table 1 Opinion on the current practice of SBM

Valid Item

Frequency

Valid Percent

Unsatisfactory

Adequate

Good

Excellent

0

17

147

154

0

5.3

46.2

48.4

Total

318

100.0

An effort was also made to find out whether there was statistically significant difference in terms of the school stakeholders’ opinion in terms of the implementation of SBM. As presented in Table 2, there was no statistically significant difference (Chi-sq =59, N = 318, p = .74) with the 96% of respondents who are working in schools (teachers, administrative staff and school principals) who either stated good or excellent on the implementation of SBM, compared with 94% of respondents (school council members and parents) who stated the same.

Table 2 Opinion on the implementation of SBM by position of respondents in school

NewPosition * Opinion on the Implementation of SBM Crosstabulation

Opinion on the Implementation of SBM

Total

Adequate

Good

Excellent

New

Position

1*

Count

5

56

60

121

% within NewPosition

4.1%

46.3%

49.6%

100.0%

2**

Count

12

91

94

197

% within NewPosition

6.1%

46.2%

47.7%

100.0%

Total

Count

17

147

154

318

% within NewPosition

5.3%

46.2%

48.4%

100.0%

* = Teacher, administrative staff, principal

** = School council members and parents

Chi-Square Tests

Value

df

Asymp. Sig. (2-sided)

Pearson Chi-Square

.593a

2

.744

Likelihood Ratio

.612

2

.736

Linear-by-Linear Association

.311

1

.577

N of Valid Cases

318

0 cells (.0%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is 6.47.

How SBM Change the Authority on School Decision-Makings

Since the implementation of SBM, authority in decision-making is vested from governments to school level decision-makers. For this purpose, each Indonesian school has established school councils for decision-making processes. In this research, it was necessary to find out how the school stakeholders considered the authority in decision-making after the implementation of SBM.

Table 3 SBM and decision-making authority in school

Valid Item

Frequency

Valid Percent

Disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

18

166

134

5.7

52.2

42.1

Total

318

100.0

Table 3 shows that the vast majority (94%) of respondents in the empirical survey either agreed (52%) or strongly agreed with the statement: School-Based Management has resulted in the provision of wider authority in school for decision-making. This result implies that as perceived by the respondents, authority for decision-making has been vested in school level since the implementation of SBM.

In the history of Indonesian education system prior to the implementation of SBM, school principals were the authority figures in school decision-makings. They worked very closely to the district government officials in relation to the arrangements of new school buildings, school renovation, and even school textbooks for children. In such a practice, parents and other school community members never involved in decision-making processes. These practices were in line with Education Law No.2/1989 on National Education System and Government Regulation No.28/1990. It was regulated that central government has the authority in regard with curriculum, textbooks, school facilities, deployment, and development of staff, while authority in relation to new school buildings and renovations are in the hands of district governments (Article 9, Government Regulation 28/1990).

In contrast, under SBM scheme, authority in these areas is not solely vested in school principal, but to the school councils. This requires principals to distribute the authority to school council members. The central government decided on the structure and composition of the councils to represent school communities. However, each school itself was given the authority to decide the size of the council based on their school size. Thus, each school has to elect a school council with a minimum of nine members depending on the size of the school. The membership of a school council should comprise of principal and the representatives of teachers, students, parents, school foundations, local governments, and community. The community representatives should consist of: (1) public figures, (2) educational experts; (3) industries or businesses; (4) professional organization of teachers; representatives of alumni; and (5) representatives of students. Apart from electing and/or nominating a maximum of three representatives only from teachers, school foundations, and Advisory Body for the Village Governance (Badan Pertimbangan Desa/BPD), there is no limitation of the total number elected from the representatives of the community members.

Opinion on How SBM Creates Higher Participation of School Stakeholders

An effort was then made to seek the nature of participation of school stakeholders in school decision-makings as perceived by the school stakeholders.

Table 4 SBM and higher participation in school

Valid Item

Frequency

Valid Percent

Agree

Strongly Agree

196

122

61.6

38.4

Total

318

100.0

Table 4 shows that all respondents (100%) stated either agree (62%) or strongly agree (38%) with the statement: SBM implementation has resulted in increased participation if all stakeholders in school. The result indicates how SBM policy in schools has created higher participation on the part of school communities.

Indeed, the finding above is contradicted to research findings in other countries. In Flanders, Belgium, for example, contacting and gathering parents together have been very difficult, and even the parents were thinking that they do not need such meetings as they can have direct contact with teachers and school leaders outside the participation council (Verhoeven & Heddegem, 1999: 415). Similarly, with regards to the parental participation in South Africa, Heystek (2007: 482) reports that: (1) principals in South Africa do not allow active parental participation in the School Governing Bodies (SGB), as they are under the misconception that the parents may take over; (2) the parents’ actual contribution is minimal; and even (3) the parents do not know why or how they can be involved in the SGB because they cannot read and interpret the legislation and policies.

Opinion on How SBM Create Partnership in Schools

Table 5 SBM and partnership in schools

Valid Item

Frequency

Valid Percent

Agree

Strongly Agree

181

137

56.9

43.1

Total

318

100.0

Table 5 shows that all respondents stated either agree (57%) or strongly agree (43%) with the statement: SBM implementation has resulted in creating increased partnership in school. This result indicates how the implementation of SBM policy has impacted on creating partnership among the school stakeholders.

Partnership in schools is considered as the result of sharing authority among the school stakeholders. In this context, the school council replaces the supreme power of bureaucrats and school leaders, enabling decision-making at the school in a collegial atmosphere. The school council replaces the absolute authority of the principal in decision-making that enables every school council member to have an equal opportunity to contribute to decisions which are relevant to the interests of the school. Thus, it is important to school leaders to pay attention on the participatory decision-making process which can build trust and confidence of school stakeholders towards a solid partnership (Gamage and Zajda, 2005: 53).

Opinion on How SBM has Improved Teaching and Learning Environments

Table 8 How SBM resulted in teaching/learning improvements

Valid Item

Frequency

Valid Percent

Agree

Strongly Agree

223

95

70.1

29.9

Total

318

100.0

Table 8 shows that all respondents in the empirical survey either agreed (70%) or strongly agree (30%) with the statement: SBM implementation has resulted in increased teaching/learning improvements.

Qualitative data findings of the study affirm that the school stakeholders were happy with the SBM policy with shifting authority to school level. The effect of the policy is not just related to better quality of school buildings, but also the processes of both new school building and school building renovations, as quoted below:

All school programs are linked to school council. The council members are very active in school for the purpose of improving better teaching and learning environments. We can see the results now that the school building is totally different from before the implementation of SBM as well as the facilities, including the laptops and televisions.

The processes of new school building did not disturb teaching and learning processes because all relevant school stakeholders were involved to decide the best time. In the past prior to implementing SBM, district government decided the best time for them to build a new school building and it could disturb the teaching-learning processes in school.

Opinion on How SBM has Increased Student Achievement

Table 9 How SBM resulted in increased student achievement

Valid Item

Frequency

Valid Percent

Disagree

Agree

Strongly Agree

6

211

101

1.9

66.4

31.8

Total

318

100.0

Table 9 shows that all respondents in the empirical survey either agreed (66%) or strongly agreed (32%) with the statement: SBM implementation has resulted in increased student achievement. Only small amount of respondents (2%) disagreed with the statement. Qualitative data findings of the study affirm the strong co-operation between school council members and other school communities has created better learning achievement of students, as stated by teachers below:

Co-operation in our school is very strong in implementing the school programs stated in the document of school development planning. Parents have been genuinely supporting instructional processes of teachers.

Teachers communicate with parents in relation to the progress of students. Prior to national final examination, school council has decided extra-hour programs to assist the students’ learning.

Like all schools in the town, this school has achieved excellent academic achievement of students. Since 2007, the students’ percentage graduate rate has achieved 100%.

Previous studies on school effectiveness and improvements also indicate that the relationship between home and school through a partnership can enable the creation of healthier teaching and learning environment, leading to the improvements of the children’s school performance and student outcomes (Werf, Creemers & Guldemond, 2001; Gamage, 1998b, 1996e). Recent reports also affirm that partnerships in the UK and New Zealand schools have resulted in increased student achievements (Allen, 2007; Robertson and Miller, 2007). Robertson and Miller (2007) demonstrate how equity has resulted from building partnerships between teachers, students, parents, and school leaders in the case of New Zealand primary schools. On the basis of semi-structured interviews involving school leaders, teachers, and parents, as well as observation and analyzing relevant documents in three primary schools which have multicultural students and high ethnic diversity, they assert that there has been an excellent response to improve teaching learning process by involving parents and community members in helping students during the teaching learning-process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is with no doubt to affirm that the Indonesian policy of implementing School-Based Management (SBM) has brought changes in schools. With the implementation of SBM, schools are vested with power and authority for school decision-making, but not solely in the hands of school principals but in coordination with school council members, which are comprised of representatives of teachers, parents, local government, and other wider community members including public figures, local chiefs, and even business representatives. In this study, the emergence of school councils in school decision-making has encouraged higher participation of the school stakeholders, created partnership, required transparent financial management, improved teaching and learning environments, and increased achievement of students, both academic and non-academic achievement such as discipline, attendance, and sport.

However, it is also important to notice that the population of this study is in a district where international donor agencies were there for a significant period of time (2002-2008) assisting school stakeholders for effective SBM practices. The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through a program known as Nusa Tenggara Timur Primary Education Partnership (NTT-PEP) provided training for school principals in terms of their effective leadership style in accordance with SBM paradigm. Further research need to be taken to compare the results of SBM policy and programs in such districts and other districts without the assistance of foreign aids.

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