Timor Leste was established as a country in 1999 when the Indonesians relinquished sovereignty and their departing military units and associated militias left most of the educational infrastructure in ruins. Civil disorder flared again in 2006 and the Government invited international military and reconstruction aid agencies in to restore order and reinvigorate development. The Inspectorate was established by law in 2008 to improve the quality and accountability of the school education system. The aim of this paper is to analyse the relationship between a national language policy that favours Portuguese and Tetun, and the establishment and administration of the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Education in Timor Leste.
The author was embedded in the Inspectorate between January and June 2009. During this period he conducted ethnographic analysis of the administration of two of the largest regions prior to helping develop the School Inspector's Manual and a strategic plan for the Inspectorate. This report was derived from those experiences.
The Inspectorate in the Ministry of Education, led by an Inspector General, has a symbiotic relationship with what is termed in this paper as the “Schools Directorate” led by a director general. Although the Inspectorate is required to improve the quality and accountability of all services provided by the Schools Directorate, a close symbiosis is encouraged between the sister bureaucracies by the Minister of Education, resulting in serious goal displacement in both organisations, degrees of confusion and paralysis in implementation. Four major reasons are identified. The Minister co‐manages the Schools Directorate and the Inspectorate has a chief executive officer. Formal communications in the Ministry are conducted in Portuguese, although very few are competent in this language. Regional directorates and regional inspectorates are required to collaborate closely in review and development planning, while the activities of the latter are funded and administered by the former. The cultural norms of conflict‐avoidance in a post‐conflict context are all pervasive in a setting of scarce resources, to the point where no one is ever fired, even for corruption.
This paper reports baseline research into the development of the Inspectorate and the Ministry of Education.
Macpherson, R. (2011), "Educational administration in Timor Leste: Language policy and capacity building challenges in a post‐conflict context", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 186-203. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513541111107597Download as .RIS
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