Project Highlights
Improving Primary Schools
Basic Education I & II Projects
Monitoring Primary Schools
CERCA: Civic Engagement for Education Reform in Central America

Central America
2002 to 2004
USAID/Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean
Program Director:
Carmen Siri
[email protected]

CERCA is a regional project that aims to improve school governance and educational quality by promoting the adoption of well-informed decentralization practices that enable parents, communities and local organizations to work effectively with schools.

Funded by USAID through a cooperative agreement with the Academy for Educational Development (AED), CERCA supports the new USAID Central America (CAM) Regional Strategy. Its design is demand driven and will systematically incorporate Mission and stakeholder input.

CERCA will provide a regional forum for research, analysis and development of action plans on how the tools of education management can best engage local constituencies in improving the quality of education. Steps for implementation include the following.

1. Understanding the issue (2003)
Consultative Committee of Central American stakeholders.
Desk review of literature on state of the art decentralization practices in the region.
Case studies of successful examples in which local participation supports school quality.
Synthesis report on success factors for involvement of local constituencies in improving classroom activities and learning.
2. Developing solutions (early 2004)
Regional workshop to (a) examine what kinds of educational management practices enable the engagement of local constituencies in improving educational quality; and (b) develop solution options based on a shared regional knowledge base.
Action plans – for the region and for specific countries.
3. Implementing solutions (2004)
Policy publications.
Regional support mechanisms, networks and follow-up.
Country-specific programs in support of CAM Strategy developed in consultation with interested USAID Missions.
Anticipated outcomes
Empirically-grounded policy guidance developed and based on global analysis and case studies conducted in four countries that identifies the key factors for successful civic participation.
National decentralization and educational governance efforts well informed as to which practices lead to improved educational quality.
Local constituencies active in efforts to achieve and sustain quality education.