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Community Engagement bringing change in Delhi government schools

New Delhi: “Education” is the fulcrum of humanity. Along with building the personality of a person, education plays an important role in his family, social and global identity. The government of “Aam Aadmi Party” in Delhi has done excellent work in the field of education under the able guidance of CM Hon’ble Arvind Kejriwal and […]

Edited By : Pranjal Gupta | Updated: Oct 8, 2022 11:48 IST
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Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia

New Delhi: “Education” is the fulcrum of humanity. Along with building the personality of a person, education plays an important role in his family, social and global identity.

The government of “Aam Aadmi Party” in Delhi has done excellent work in the field of education under the able guidance of CM Hon’ble Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM and  Education Minister Manish Sisodia.

The AAP government has played a major role in strengthening the School Management Committees(SMC) at the grassroot level and by its consistent effort all the SMC members have become the torch bearers of the Delhi Education system in their respective localities.

This committee is constituted in other states too under, the Right to Free and Compulsory Children’s Education Act Bill, 2009(RTE 2009), under section 21 of this bill, the formation of SMC was initiated in 2010 to increase community participation and ownership in schools in all states of India.

But the level at which the work and success of this committee is seen in Delhi is beyond all limits and has not been seen anywhere else. This committee was established as a “Voluntary Organization” and all the SMC members perform the functions of the committee as their duty without any profit.

Delhi government of “Aam Aadmi Party” is committed to its principle of “Swaraj and Decentralization”.

In a democracy, the people should be active participants in all the schemes of public welfare and at the same time there should be a sense of responsibility towards the result – this has given momentum to the SMCs, due to which a vast change is being seen in the condition of the schools and overall education system in Delhi.

Strengthening and restructuring of SMCs had been possible due to the continuous and diligent efforts of AAP Leader and MLA Ms Atishi Singh.

The government has adopted a comprehensive vision for the betterment of education, the possibilities of a better education system are discussed with the educational institutions located in the country as well as abroad, and after that, the committee gives its cooperation in getting it fully implemented.

The committee is working at the grassroot level in Delhi, collaborating with school administration, children and their parents in around 1050+ schools which is showing very good results. The committee has done an important work regarding the attendance of the students in the school and limiting truancy of the students too.

The members of the committee interacts with the parents and the children by visiting the houses of the absentee students and are successful in minimizing absenteeism. Additionally, the truancy rate of students has also fallen down. The committee is very active in increasing the enrolment of children in the schools.

For this, the members maintains constant public relations and also run awareness campaigns from time to time – the result of which is that where there were 15 lakh students in the year 2015, their number has increased manifoldly to about 18.5 lakh in 2022.

It is also seen from 2015 onwards parents’ turnout in Mega PTM which is often held by the Directorate of Education (DOE) has increased significantly due to SMCs engaging in continuous dialogue with parents.

Continuous monitoring and meaningful efforts are made by the committee regarding cleanliness in schools. Whether it is the matter of lunch or the safety, protection or training of girl students for their self-defence – the committee take special attention on all these. The members of the committee are very sensitive toward the feelings and safety of the children, the awareness of the Protection of Children from Sexual Harassment Act, POCSO-2012, has been a part of the action plan of the committee.

The committee also takes the cooperation of Government bodies such as Delhi commission for protection of child rights (DCPCR) and some non-governmental organizations such as – Pratham, Saajha, Sachi-Saheli, etc. from time to time.

SMC members also interact with the teachers, provide feedback, and monitor their regularity and classes which have proved to be very helpful in the children’s results.

Thus, in view of the work of the committee and its positive results on the education system, the Delhi government has expanded the power and participation of the committee through circular, FDE 23(6) /RTE/2012-13/847-854, on “Enhancement of powers of School Management Committees”.

According to it, some of key points are:-

  • The committee shall hold meetings at least twice every month. If two shift are running in the same school, then combined meeting of both shift SMCs will be held once every two months.
  • Committee members can visit the school at any time and monitor the functioning of the school.
  • Committee members can address groups of students and teachers anytime.
  • The members of the committee can inspect the records of the school and it will be the duty of the Principal to submit the relevant records on demand.
  • The members of the committee can check the expenditure incurred by the Principal in the school.
  • The committee may ask for a social audit of the school.
  • The committee can give a “show cause notice” to the teacher concerned about indiscipline and irregularity.
  • The committee may appoint any person as a means to inculcate the educational interest of the students, the cost of which will be from the SMC Fund.

The Delhi government is giving priority to education and is strengthening the “School Management Committees” even more under decentralization with new dimensions for the implementation of the schemes. It is acting as a bridge between the aims and results of education.

The work done by the committee in the development of schools in the last 6-7 years is quite commendable. But the committee believes that more efforts should still be made by “social participation”.

Realizing this need, the Delhi government started a scheme named “Parents Samvaad” in October 2021. Under which “School-Mitra” and “Committee Members” will work together with the parents in the interest of the school and will keep in regular contact with each other.

Under the “Parents Samvaad Yojana”, it is the aim of the government that social participation should get more momentum, and people get more connected to each other. About 14000 members of the committee and 22000 “School-Mitra” together with 36000 workers keep on regularly interacting with 18.5 lakh students and their parents on school development, study-teaching, etc. so that the public is aware of various aspects of education and development and thus will give a thrust to the entire process of development in the government education system of Delhi.

Therefore, the present working style of the committee, the enduring spirit of service of the members and the methodical future plans will certainly make education and its system reach its goal.

Author: Vaibhav Srivastava (President Delhi School Management Committee and a software engineer by profession)

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author.

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First published on: Oct 07, 2022 04:27 PM IST

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