A study shows that community school management committees across the country are not playing their roles and teachers are gripped by job insecurity. School supervisors and resource persons do not visit schools, according to a recent report commissioned by the Department of Education.
With the aim of making communities responsible, the government had started the process of handing over schools to communities a decade ago.There are 11,140 community-managed schools (CMS) in the country and they receive government grants as financial incentives — Rs 100,000 for a primary school, Rs 200,000 for a lower secondary and Rs 300,000 for a secondary school— to encourage community ownership.
The school handover programme has however hit a snag. Though the government had targeted handing over 5,000 schools to communities last year, it could hand over only about 1,000 schools. It is learnt that Ministry of Education officials are at a loss — whether or not to continue the project — as the paltry financial incentive was not “encouraging”.
The study, carried out in 45 CMS in 15 districts, underscored the need of capacity-building and grassroot-level awareness programmes before decentralising school management to communities.
“Though School Management Committees can assist in building physical infrastructure, district education offices should be responsible for bringing changes in classroom activities and quality of education,” said Prof Bharat Bilas Pant, coordinator of the study team. “Some CMS have done well, but they failed to share their success with other schools.”
Teachers in community-managed schools have been gripped by job insecurity.
They fear that change in the managing committee might curtail their responsibilities, according to the report.
Job description for the SMC and teachers should be clearly mentioned, and district education offices should assist in the betterment of schools, said the report.
In the budget declaration, the government has vowed to hand over 2,500 public schools to communities. There are more than 33,000 public schools in the country
(Source: The Himalayantimes)