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Democratizing Governance of Public Schools | Samarthya

place India + 1 more

We work towards making the governance of public schools more inclusive & representative by fostering voice & agency in local stakeholders.

We, in the context of public education, foster voice and agency in local stakeholders enabling them to represent their interests and to hold their leaders to account. We activate School Management Committees (SMCs), which is a law mandated local platform for local stakeholders around a public school to collectively dialogue and act.

HundrED 2024


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Target group
April 2024
We hope to see transparent, democratic, and participatory governance in government schools. We hope that parents start seeing suggested changes being implemented and that they are more engaged in the child’s academics and school governance through increased interactions with the school staff. They will have the opportunity to shape the future of how education is delivered to their children.

About the innovation

What is Democratizing Governance of Public Schools | Samarthya

What we do?

We transform the governance of government schools by making it more inclusive and representative. We do so by either directly fostering voice and agency in the local stakeholders to participate effectively in the governance of Government schools or supporting partner governments or organizations in creating processes . This local stakeholder set includes the parent representatives, student representatives, teacher representatives and local authority representatives.

Section 21 of the Right To Education Act (RTE) mandates the formation of School Management Committees (SMCs) in all government run and aided schools.

Why We Chose SMCs to transform Governance?

Structure, By Design, Promotes Participation And Representation:

The SMC structure, by design, is meant to strengthen public participation with 75% of the committee comprising of parents who are elected to be the representatives of the rest of the parent body.

Diversity and Inclusion:

A school management committee comprises of a diverse stakeholder set, often including the parent representatives, principal, a teacher representative, a local authority representative, a social worker working in the field of education and a student representative. 50% of the SMC mandatorily consists of women. 75% of the SMC mandatorily consists of parents

Derives its Oversight Powers From RTE:

The RTE Act lends SMCs the powers of oversight which include the review, monitoring and supervision of public schools, related programs, funds, activities and policy implementation.

SMCs are mainly responsible for:

  • building school community linkages

  • monitoring and reporting any child right violations

  • monitoring school functioning and finances

How Do We Do It:

We have been working with partners and government education departments across Nagaland, Haryana and Punjab to democratize governance in public schools.

1. We build capacity in SMC members to engage effectively in the governance of their neighbourhood government school. Through experiential activities, we tell them about:

  • Their Roles and responsibilities as SMC members

  • How can they perform their roles and responsibilities

  • Rights of their children as per the Right To Education Act

2. We support SMC members in:

  • Recognizing and building alignment on issues they want to solve inside a school.

  • Articulating their interests and representing them to the relevant authorities.

This is done through a cascading training model that is co-created with relevant education administrators. Such a cascading training model is further strengthened by sharing of resources, frameworks, rubrics that helps administrators sustain the initiative and be continuously informed on what is working and what can be improved. This work is currently being implemented with education administrators across 3 state governments.

Through the aforementioned interventions, we are building capacity in SMC members across over 34000 government schools to effectively participate in the governance of their government school.

Our Theory of Change

A well governed institution is more likely to deliver on its intended outcomes than a poorly governed institution. If SMCs function well, a government school is likely to be governed better than if only the principal governs the school.

Inclusion and representation of all stakeholders are basic facets of good governance. SMCs are mandatorily composed of a diverse stakeholder set including parents, teachers, students, principal, local authority representative etc.

To govern effectively, those governing should have the requisite voice and agency. In case of a government school, the SMC is the governing body.

Samarthya fosters voice and agency in members of the School Management Committee which is a legally mandated governance platform meant for local collective dialogue and action.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

By democratizing governance of public schools to effectively deliver quality education for their children, this innovation is having a profound effect in fostering voice and agency in local stakeholders enabling them to represent their interests.

HundrED Academy Reviews

This innovation creates spaces to promote governance and improve school management through the active participation of stakeholders. It benefits the school and could be applied in other regions.

This project makes it possible to strengthen the governance of public schools with an inclusive and participatory approach of the interested parties. Creating spaces for permanent dialogue on the school situation favors accountability and management.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

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