Insight Note

School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs) and How to Study Them: A Methodological Review of a RISE Research Project

Key Points

  • A systematic lack of involvement of parents and local leaders in the Nigerian education system reduces community aspirations to improve educational outcomes for students.
  • Nigeria’s national School Based Management Committee (SBMC) policy established committees of parents and local leaders to bridge the gap between policymakers and communities, and to lead in school management.
  • Though highly functioning SBMCs can improve learning outcomes, available evidence suggests that most are currently ineffective or non-functioning.
  • The RISE Nigeria team surveyed 6,188 public-primary schools and found that 91 percent had formally established SBMCs. However, less than 25 percent of these schools had SBMCs that met the team’s criteria for being “active.”
  • This insight note outlines the research strategy of the RISE Nigeria SBMC project. The project will utilise randomised controlled trial interventions to test whether deliberative, participative decision-making processes in SBMCs lead to different decisions and/or improved education outcomes in schools compared to more centralised decision-making processes.


Image of C. Obinna Ogwuike

C. Obinna Ogwuike

Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA)

Image of Emeka W. Nweke

Emeka W. Nweke

RISE Nigeria

Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA)


It is becoming increasingly recognised that the education sector in Nigeria cannot be fixed by government alone, and that shifting responsibilities to local stakeholders is necessary due to Nigeria’s large regional and cultural heterogeneities. Nigeria’s School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs), committees made up of parents and other local leaders that help manage local schools, are one potential strategy to accomplish this shift. However, since its launch in 2006 Nigeria’s SBMC policy has been characterised by inconsistent implementation. Though each school is meant to have an SBMC, anecdotal data suggests that most schools do not have functioning SBMCs.

The RISE Nigeria Team believes that increased education demand through increased community, parental, and student aspirations and/or participation in decision-making processes can lead to improved educational outcomes. In line with this, we launched the RISE SBMC project, a randomised controlled trial-based research study that seeks to understand how SBMCs can best support school performance in the political contexts of five rural Nigerian states. We have completed initial census activities and are currently in the process of collecting baseline data.

In this Insight Note, we will provide a detailed explanation of our research strategy and the methodologies and tools we are using to assess the institutional norms and conditions that lead to effective SBMCs. The goal of the note is to show other researchers interested in Nigeria’s SBMCs the type of work we are doing, and exactly how our research team operates in rural Nigeria. We hope that this information will be useful to researchers interested in studying Nigeria’s SBMCs, or in the nuances of data collection in rural Nigeria generally.

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Ogwuike, C.O. and Nweke, E.W. 2022. School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs) and How to Study Them: A Methodological Review of a RISE Research Project. RISE Insight Series. 2022/042.