There has been a steady and growing interest in school-based management (SBM) over the last 15 years. It is recognised that real reform, and improved learning happen at the school where teachers and head teachers have more decision making. School improvement is now essential, and this includes school plans and budgets managed by the school, often in collaboration with the community through school committees. Fiscal decentralisation has taken place where schools receive grants for such things as purchase of educational materials, textbooks. It can also include small-scale construction and rehabilitation of school facilities. School clusters, once used mainly in continuous professional development of teachers, are at present being used for school management. Head teachers are now playing a bigger role in monitoring teacher performance. While these reforms are promising, education systems in many low-income countries still tend to be highly centralised with strong teacher unions.
CEI and its staff have been a part of the SBM debate and in the middle of many reforms over the last 15 years. This has included taking part in strategic planning processes in Ministries of Education where educational decentralisation and school leadership have featured prominently. Staff have assisted governments in designing school grant schemes. CEI has participated in peer reviews and working groups on SBM and head teaching training and accreditation.Recently, one staff member completed a mid-term review of an education program in southern Africa that supported the provision of school grants to schools. Another example is the development of a nation-wide training program for principals in South-East Asian country.