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  • Parents to have a greater say in school administration

    August 03, 2016

    Community members will now have far greater say in how a school should be run. School management committees (SMCs) of government schools can also ask principals to show-cause teachers.

    In a circular issued on August 1, the Directorate of Education (DoE) has clarified the role of SMCs and considerably "enhanced" their powers. The Delhi government has given SMCs some real teeth, while removing a dozen social workers from the committees.

    Now, the vice-chairperson — a parent — can call meetings and SMCs can inspect all school records, check their expenses. They can form committees to track teacher absenteeism. There will also be an annual "social audit" in which, "all the activities and funds of the schools must be annually presented before the general body comprising parents and teachers".

    "Over the past years we have received many complaints and concerns from you regarding functioning of the SMCs. Based on that we have brought in some changes in the powers of SMCs," said Atishi Marlena, advisor to the education minister, in a message to SMC coordinators.

    The SMC was intended to shift the day-to-day administration of a school to the community in which the school was located. Of the 16 members in a Delhi SMC, 11 are parents. There are over 10,000 parents in the city who are elected SMC members.

    "The exact role and powers of SMCs were vague in the Act and rules. Principals would routinely refuse to show records. This circular brings clarity. It creates a significant opening for SMCs to take charge," said Rajiv Kumar of education NGO Pardarshita who was, till recently, an SMC member.

    The chairperson of the SMC is still the head of a school — though activists were against this — but now the vice-chairperson, a parent, is empowered to call meetings as well.
     
    The DoE circular said: "The SMC shall be empowered to take any decision for the overall development of the school and welfare of the students and teachers, and shall be empowered to get these decisions implemented".
     
    In addition to the blanket approval, there are about a dozen, more specific, categories under which other powers are defined. Records, expenses and registers have to be placed at SMC's monthly meetings and to members, on demand. In some cases, even the time-frame for action has been stated.
     
    A deputy director of education (district DDE), for instance, has 15 days to create an inquiry committee to investigate financial irregularities if the SMC recommends it. If the DDE doesn't, s/he'll have to state why in writing. If at least half the members agree, SMCs can collaborate with NGOs "for meeting... deficiencies in academics, sports, music or any other field."
     

    OUR TAKE

    The decision is in the best interest of all the families. The parents should have always had a say in how their children are educated. This not only empowers the parents but also would make the school, along with all the teachers, more responsible and accountable. The administration would also turn their attention towards this and before taking any decision.


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