Erwin A. Alampay
National College of Public Administration and Governance
University of the Philippines
The Philippine government has long recognized the importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) in its operations as evidenced by its strategic IT plans, starting with the National Information Technology Plan (NITP) in 1997, the Government Information Systems Plan (GISP) of 2000 and in the more recent Philippine Digital Strategy (2011). However, in terms of governance, it has struggled to find the right structure and strategies to effectively implement these plans. ICT projects have become isolated and not interoperable, without a clear architecture and standards to systematically direct ICT projects. Information systems that are supposed to cut across the bureaucracy end up becoming redundant infrastructures of disconnected systems. This paper describes the current strategy of the government called the Medium Term Information and Communication Technology Initiative (MITHI), and how the approach driven by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Information and Communication Technology Office (ICTO) addresses issues of interoperability within sectors (eg, health, education, justice) and rationalizes IT investments in government. The study uses data from ICTO’s ICT Inventory Survey and information from proposals submitted to MITHI during the 2013 budget call.
Decentralization of Lower Secondary School Education in the Lao PDR: Structural Transformation and Policy Impediments
Thomas Jones, Meiji University
Sisonexay Chansamone, Ministry of Home Affairs, Lao PDR
Despite being a one-party system, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has witnessed varying degrees of decentralization since 1975. Recent policies have focused on administrative decentralization or deconcentration, as when the Ministry of Education transferred certain Lower Secondary School responsibilities from provincial to district level authorities in 2009. This study used a mixed method approach to assess implementation from a Lower Secondary School perspective, with semi-structured interviews conducted with 22 school principals in four districts of Vientiane Capital. Results show that although more responsibilities have theoretically been transferred from provincial to district level, the exact division is still misunderstood and does not always meet the actual needs from the perspectives of principals. Principals place more importance on meetings with the provincial rather than the district authorities as the former remain the ultimate decision-makers for most lower secondary school matters, even though the district authorities are geographically closer and more accessible to the schools. The policy thus needs greater promotion and adjustment to reflect local needs, while more capacity building is also recommended, especially at district level.
Assessing China’s Energy-Saving Practices in Its 11th Five Year Plan: from A Transition Management Perspective
Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo
During its 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010), China fixes strict energy-saving goals for its economic activities. For instance, a binding objective of 20 percent reduction in energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product, GDP) is proposed. In order to achieve its energy conservation goals, the central government has released many relevant policies. This paper focuses on how China implemented its energy saving and emission reduction policy, from the perspective of transition management (TM) which originated from Netherlands. TM gets inspiration from the idea of transition and emphasizes the role of government in managing a transition. The TM theory can contribute to a better understanding of energy conservation policy in China where the energy consumption structure and approach are undergoing a transition, namely, from a kind of “extensive” pattern of economic growth to an “intensive” one. The Chinese government is actively promoting this transition. For example, at the regime level, the government has promulgated and revised many supporting laws and regulations, such as the Circular Economy Promotion Law, Energy Conservation Law and the Comprehensive Working Plan for Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction. At the niche level, the government implemented many innovative programs including the development and deployment of energy-saving technologies, construction of energy-saving buildings, establishment of energy efficiency monitoring and evaluation systems, etc. In the midst of illustrating these activities, this paper will pay special attention to the governability of central government.
Joel V. Mangahas
Decentralized delivery of basic services potentially enhances allocative efficiency and responsiveness of public investments. Insofar as local autonomy provides greater discretion for subnational units of governments, it is an imperative that devolved powers and resources are adequately complemented by accountability mechanisms in order to make decentralization truly work for the people. Global experiences show that local service delivery can be encumbered by patronage politics and vested interests of local elites, thus exacerbating limited access to economic opportunities and poor living conditions of the greater number. Within this context, this paper discusses the community-driven development (CDD) approach, which empowers citizens by building their capacities and enabling them to take control of public investment decisions that directly affect their lives. This paper discusses how CDD has affected the quality of and access to basic social service, in particular, and, more broadly, public welfare. It argues that insofar as CDD improves access to and quality of local services, CDD reinforces and strengthens local planning, budgeting, and service delivery. CDD pushes the envelope for both local government autonomy and public accountability. In conclusion, CDD serves as an important mechanism to ensure that decentralization works the way it should.
Yu Noda, Aichi University, Japan
This study investigates the nonlinear effects of local governments’ performance of public services on citizen satisfaction in Japan. Citizen satisfaction data has been collected by many municipalities because it is regarded as a quantitative measure of citizen needs. Citizen satisfaction with services is generally assessed on a scale ranging from dissatisfaction to satisfaction, and there can be some variation between the effects of the quality of services in comparison with citizens’ expectations based on their understanding of what the government should provide. In line with Kano’s theory, we can say that with respect to the must-be quality of service, when the quality decreases in the low-quality condition, citizen dissatisfaction decreases at an accelerated pace. Regarding the attractive quality of service, citizen satisfaction rises significantly as the performance increases in the high-quality condition. On the basis of data gathered through an Internet survey in Japan, we explore the nonlinear effects of service performance on citizen satisfaction through a comparison of citizens’ expectations on different levels of governments. This study found that clarity of service in areas under the authority of a broad regional government has more impact in terms of increasing satisfaction and decreasing dissatisfaction and that its nonlinear effects are more significant than for municipal services.