This research analyzes the implementation of The Quality Schools Program (QSP) created in 2001. This program delegates functions to elementary education schools so they can improve material and pedagogical aspects. Schools’ Councils, composed of directors, teachers and students’ parents are responsible to develop a school’s project which is financed by the QSP. The QSP introduces mechanisms for social participation, which can promote transparency and accountability during projects’ execution. QSP execution overcomes vertical and bureaucratic practices in education sector policies by promoting horizontal relationships amongst schools’ community members. The QSP also promotes schools’ external actors contribution to schools’ development.
To assess actors’ interactions during QSP implementation case studies, in 25 schools in five Mexican states, were undertaken in order to interview members of Schools’ Councils. Their answers were codified according to the following indicators: levels of social participation, of transparency and of accountability. These indicators made possible to rank schools according to low or high performance, as well as performance according to the QSP’s rules. The main lesson for public policies, in Mexico and in other countries, is that policies based on mutual responsibility create incentives for transparency during decision making processes at schools, while promoting accountability at the schools’ level.