I want my children to go to this kind of school

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Parents and community members are more willing to support a school from having full knowledge about the school's resources.

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Years and years ago, when I was still in school, the interaction my parents had with the school was only during report card day, and perhaps the odd times I got into trouble. That was it. Although my son is only a year and a half old, I’ve been on the lookout for a school and I would rather not have him study at the type of school I went to.

After visiting elementary school 01 Cibuluh in Bogor, I may have found it. I like how this elementary school implements school-based management – a concept where schools have more authority to manage their resources and learning activities but still adhere to the national curriculum.

Schools in Indonesia have implemented school-based management with varying degrees of success, but the school in Bogor has managed it well to help improve students’ performances.

Since this school has more authority in managing its resources, transparency is a must, and the school has done it very well. Financial reports are routinely updated on an information board, plus sent to parents and members of the school committee.

The principal, teachers, parents, and community members, sitting down together discussing the school's plan - a nice sight!

Having a strong school committee is perhaps the most compelling reason why this school has succeeded. Through the committee, parents and community members are involved in the school's decision making process, ranging from school trips, planning the school’s budget, even selecting new students. This school has gone one step further by establishing class committees to discuss smaller issues, such as purchasing a fan.

From talking to committee members I found that transparency and the fact that the school ensured their opinions mattered were reasons why the school committee is so active.

I was impressed how the school committee once confronted the media who thought the school had forced parents to pay for the construction of a new classroom. It was actually an initiative from the committee who did not want some students to study in the afternoon due to limited classrooms.

With more authority to manage learning activities, teachers are encouraged to be innovative. Various methods have been used so students enjoy learning. Students now race to come early to pickup limited question papers and win stars. A short trip to shops across the street helps students understand the difference between imported and exported goods. Parents are also involved. A parent who experienced the tsunami in Aceh came during science class to help explain about natural disasters.

I don’t need my son to go to a fancy school, studying inside air conditioned classrooms. I would like him to study at a school where as a parent I am well informed and have a say on the school’s activities and how it uses resources. I would like the teachers to be creative to make him enjoy learning.

If it takes a village to raise a child, school-based management might just be another form. Now wouldn’t you want your children to go to this kind of school too?

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