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Democratizing Governance of Public Schools | Samarthya
What is Democratizing Governance of Public Schools | Samarthya?
Mr. Sanjeev Tomar, Former Head Teacher, Government Primary School, Kundli, Sonipat, Haryana
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 public schools across Delhi, 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
This is either done by interactive training sessions or by modeling inside SMC meetings.
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.
We do this by facilitating sessions outside the school or by facilitating SMC meetings.
Through the aforementioned interventions, we build capacity in SMC members 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.