Paradigm Model of Decentralization of the Iranian Education System

Document Type : Scientific - Research


1 Ph.D. Student in Educational Management, University of Isfahan and faculty member of Farhangian University

2 Associate Professor, Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

3 Professor, Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Objectives: To identify decentralization strategies, by presenting a paradigm model of decentralization in the Iranian Education system, this study seeks to determine the effective causal, contextual, and intervention conditions in determining the levels of centralization and decentralization in the Iranian Education system based on lived experiences and studies of experts and senior and middle managers of Education since 1978 until now.
Materials and Methods: This qualitative research has been performed by using the Grounded theory approach. From the target community, including Education experts and senior managers, fifteen managers and 10 experts were purposefully selected. Data were collected through semi-open interviews. Interviews were recorded and themes, concepts, and categories were identified in open coding. In axial coding, concepts and categories were categorized under causal conditions, intervention, context, strategies, and consequences; selective coding was performed by determining the axial category.
Discussion and Conclusions: Iranian Education has a centralized, uncoordinated, and quantitative structure. This system prescribes the same programs for all students across the country, with diverse climatic, cultural, and social conditions that do not meet individual and societal needs and this structure is ineffective. All experts and managers agree on the need to decentralize this system. But conditions such as politicization, the resistance of headquarters power centers, staff apathy, economic weakness, political conditions, dependence on the public budget, fear of ethnicity in decentralization, the political selection of non-professional managers, the instability of management and regulations, etc. make decentralization plans fail. Strategies such as the forming of a strategic council as a lever of governance power in support of administrative decentralization, assuring managers and staff of their role in a decentralized system, strengthening the legal status of provincial, district and school councils, preparing strategies for designing and preparing indigenous educational programs and content alongside national programs in the framework of national interests, forming and strengthening of scientific associations and organization of the teacher system, empowerment of staff, preparing of document and action plan of regions and provinces based on needs assessment, technical and financial support for disadvantaged areas and the use of indigenous capabilities for gradual decentralization can improve the quality of Education and the role of this system in the development process.


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