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The 2009 Global Monitoring Report (GMR) has clearly demonstrated that governance is a critical factor in creating enabling conditions for quality learning and overcoming inequalities in education (See: concept of governance). At the system level, governance determines what education policies and priorities will be put in place; how much funding will be available to education and how these resources will be distributed, used, managed and accounted for; how the powers and functions of governing education will be distributed across the different layers and actors within the system and to what extent the rule of law and transparency will be maintained so that those who hold powers are accountable for their performance. At the institution level, governance ensures the deployment of qualified, motivated and accountable personnel (e.g., teachers/facilitators and leaders/ managers). It ensures that learners are provided with high quality and relevant curriculum materials and they are engaged in learning and get adequate support from their teachers/facilitators. Governance gives diverse critical stakeholders (parents, local community members, civil society, private sector, etc.) an opportunity to participate in decision-making and contribute to learning processes. Poor governance can seriously contribute to poor education quality and ineffective learning experiences.

Education governance consists of multiple layers from the central down to the community level with various actors and stakeholders holding varying degrees of powers, authority, influences and accountability (See: accountability). For quality learning, every level of the system has an important role. Hence, in trying to understand education governance one must examine the complex web of institutional/governance arrangements designed to govern both formal and non-formal education settings at all levels.

This Analytical Tool is part of the overall UNESCO framework for diagnosing the quality of the general education system and learning effectiveness. The Analytical Tool aims at supporting Member States in diagnosing their governance structures and processes at all levels of the education system. The paramount question this tool helps to address is: To what extent does governance of our education system support the attainment and sustainability of high quality education and effective learning experiences. The diagnosis is facilitated by raising key questions around critical elements of governance.

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