In the last two decades, Nepal’s education system has undergone significant decentralization process conferring financial powers and responsibilities, among others, to the school actors. At the school level, head teacher, School Management Committee and accountant should cooperate and collaborate for tasks related to financial transactions. As the major bulk of school funds transferred from the center involves recurrent (mainly teacher-salary) and conditional grants (construction, scholarship, textbook, etc that has to be used for the specified purpose), school stakeholders can use limited funds at their own discretion. In this context, to what extent is the performance of local stakeholders consistent with the policy provision and norms set out by the center? How do local stakeholders perceive and practice fiscal accountability in the school context? How do they negotiate their decisions among/between the local actors? And, what factors affect for such decisions making processes?

Drawing on case studies of two community schools, this paper will look at the anomalies between fiscal policies and practices, and explore the dynamics of contextual factors that contribute or constrain in holding school actors accountable in terms of their financial duties and responsibilities. It will further shed light and critique on the mode of Nepal’s decentralization process in the education sector.