Strategy to make School Education a boon via Community participation
Polity & Governance
17th Nov, 2022
India’s goal to achieve universal Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in all primary schools must be based on state-wise targets and should involve local community participation.
Need for the reforms:
- Under number of attempts by the State governments & the Centre to promote the involvement of local community in primary education was done using several schemes to incentivise education in schools, teacher training sessions and many more.
- But we still are unable to find a systemic way of recruiting good teachers and establishing teacher development institutions.
Recent initiatives based on community and teacher engagement
- The Shiksha Karmi Project: was started in 1987 for schools to tackle teacher absenteeism in remote villages in Rajasthan. Active involvement of the local communities was a crucial part of the project. By supporting and training local persons, the project succeeded in creating teachers.
- The Bihar Education Project was introduced in the early 1990s to support the universalisation of primary education.It developed a 10-day residentialin-service training for teachers, called the ‘Ujala module’.
- The Lok Jumbish was launched in 1992 in Rajasthan which aims to provide a thrust to innovations and emphasising civil society partnership, this programme demonstrated successes, especially in tribal districts.
- The Unni Krishnan v. State Of Andhra Pradesh states that the right to education for children up to age 14 is central and fundamental.
- The District Primary Education Programme was started in 1994, to universalise and transform the quality of primary education.
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, aimed at the universalisation of elementary education, was launched in 2001. While it has made a difference to school participation and has brought about improvement in school infrastructure, uniforms, toilet access, water and textbook availability, classroom processes still remain a challenge.
- 100% FDI (automatic route) is allowed in the education sector in India.
- Infrastructure deficit: Dilapidated structures, single-room schools, lack of drinking water facilities, separate toilets and other educational infrastructure is a grave problem.
- Corruption and leakages: The transfer of funds from the central to state to local governments to school leads to involvement of many intermediaries.
- High rates of corruption and leakages plague the system, undermine its legitimacy and harm the many officials.
- Quality of Teachers: Lack of well trained, skilled and knowledgeable teachers which provide the foundation for a high quality education system.
- Non-Academic burden: A study by the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) revealed that teachers spend only around 19 percent of their time teaching while the rest is spent mostly on non-teaching administrative work.
- Poor salary: Teachers are paid miserly salaries which affect their interest and dedication to work. They will look for other avenues like tuitions or coaching centres and coax the students to attend it.
- Teacher Absenteeism: Absence of teachers during school hours is rampant. The lack of accountability and poor governance structures add to the woes.
- Lack of Accountability: School Management Committees are largely dysfunctional. Many exist solely on paper.
- Parents are often not aware of their rights and if they are it is difficult for them to make their voice heard.
- High drop-out rates: The drop-out rates in schools, especially girls, is very high.
- Many factors like poverty, patriarchal mind-set, lack of toilets in schools, distance to schools and cultural elements lead to children dropping out from education.
- There is further need to work on community connect and parental involvement.
- Panchayats and community collectives with very high social capital, such as women self-help groups, can help ensure that local households own the initiative.
- The Central, State and local governments need to transform governance to ensure that everyone delivers their best.