Promoting community participation in school management is a widely found intervention in the developing world. While this type of program is generally believed to be effective, the actual evidence is not sufficient to inform policy makers on how community participation works in improving educational outcomes. To shed more light on this question, we conducted a randomized evaluation of an education program in Burkina Faso. The program was designed to build trust among community members and teachers, and encourage them to work together in school management. The results show that the intervention increased student enrollment, decreased student repetition, and lowered teacher absence. The results also indicate that it had a strong impact on class repetition by 6th grade boys, presumably reflecting parental priorities. This suggests that community participation can improve educational outcomes through empowering the community and enhancing social capital, but whether idealized results can be gained depends on the perception and the knowledge of the community members.
Keywords: school-based management, community participation, randomized controlled trial (RCT), education, impact evaluation