The involvement of town councils in decentralised education

José Luis Muñoz Moreno, Joaquín Gairín Sallán

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1 Citation (Scopus)


© 2014, Ministry Education and Science. All rights reserved. The debate between educational centralization and decentralization has always borne a relationship with the historical, social, political, economic and cultural realities of different contexts, and it has developed following very different traditions that lean toward different options, such as school-based management, territorialization policies, municipalized education and strong institutional autonomy for schools. This contribution analyzes town authorities’ participation in the implementation of Spanish education policies in recent decades. Some arguments are presented in favour and against educational centralization and decentralization. A historical review of how town councils engage in education issues is given, examining the possibilities, limitations and realities involved from the general perspective of legislation and from the particular perspective of education legislation. Analysis of actual practice leads to a proposal of a model for analyzing the stage of educational development that towns can handle, based on the involvement of town councils. Four stages are suggested to provide a significant description of different situations affecting towns: they ignore education; they meet their obligations; they make a commitment; or they act as transformation drivers of the social and educational reality. The proposal makes it possible to perform diagnostics, promote programmes for change and evaluate change in relation to a town’s real educational circumstances. Other proposals, such as mapping municipal educational activity and identifying good practices that are consistent with the several educational development stages considered and presented in this paper, point in the same direction. Lastly, some challenges for the future are noted, such as the need to promote greater institutional autonomy, the need to establish a better relationship between educational development and social development, and the need to encourage towns to work together as a source of learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-188
JournalRevista de Educacion
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Centralization
  • Decentralization
  • Education community
  • Education competencies
  • Education development
  • Town


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