June 30, 2016
Last week, AJS delivered a detailed monitoring plan designed to measure improvements and reforms in the Secretary of Education.
AJS has been working with the Secretary of Education for years, advocating for transparency in the hiring of new teachers and attendance for all required 200 days of class. This auditing and support were further solidified last November in a public event – the first of its kind – where AJS presented their findings regarding corruption and mismanagement in the Secretaries of Education and Security.
The presentation was the results of a groundbreaking agreement between Transparency International, AJS, and the Government of Honduras that opened the most vulnerable public sectors up to AJS’s monitoring and review.
AJS’s reports measured transparency and effectiveness in the areas of Purchasing and Contracts, Human Resources Management, and Performance Management – how the government secretaries were buying materials, hiring people, and tracking their successes or failures.
What they found was missing paperwork, unqualified employees, and a lack of measurement that allowed for errors such as the 120 days of class that Honduran schools used to average.
Unlike previous reports, however, the Ministers did more than listen; they followed the reports by presenting their own Improvement Plans designed to eliminate corruption and inefficiencies in their Secretaries and improve public services.
Without oversight, of course, these Improvement Plans could stay just that – plans never made a reality.
That’s why since November, AJS has worked with the two secretaries to make their Improvement Plans concrete and measurable, cooperatively coming up with indicators, time frames, and ways to verify progress.
Last week, AJS met with the Secretary of Education to formally pass off the matrix they had developed together, a tool that would concretely measure advances in the Secretary of Education.
AJS will continue to monitor advances in Education, with a newly updated report every six months tracking improvements and flagging any errors or inefficiencies. It’s a concrete sign of AJS’s commitment not just to call out corruption, but to work to eliminate it – to walk alongside the government until the government systems work.
Improvements in the Secretary of Education are more than just cosmetic changes. AJS will be monitoring the purchase, storage, and delivery of materials – an area where transparency can save the State millions of dollars. They will also be ensuring that teachers are competent qualified, and, most importantly, that children are learning and improving.
AJS’s presence monitoring and overseeing these areas turns abstract promises into measurable reforms that improve education for over a million Honduran children in public schools.
“This is a sign of the State’s desire to do things correctly, transparently and in ways that can be measured both by civil society and the Honduran people,” said Honduran Minister of Education Marlon Escoto.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us,” said Carlos Hernández, “But this is the moment to celebrate the advances.”