Democracy or control? The participation of management, teachers, students and parents in school leadership in Tigray, Ethiopia

06 Dec 2017

In Ethiopia, as elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), there are efforts to broaden local stakeholder participation in structures and processes of school leadership. Despite advocacy from the World Bank, amongst others, research in SSA questions the extent to which such reforms reflect genuine democratisation. This study applies theories of power to the participation of local stakeholders (management, teachers, students and parents) based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted at a government primary school in Tigray. The study finds that management agendas dominate consultative and decision-making forums; however, these spaces also enable students and others to share their views on conduct within the school community, which serves an important accountability function.