সৈয়দ মাহবুব হাসান আমিরী

আইসিটি বিভাগ, ঢাকা রেসিডেনসিয়াল মডেল কলেজ

শিক্ষা

Creating a School Management Committee

SMC’s are established by the Ministry of Education (through its provincial and district education offices) through a series of comprehensive social mobilization activities which encourage and guide communities in the participatory processes of managing a school. SMCs normally consist of 7–8 members from diverse interest groups; a school administrator or principal, parents, teachers and community elders. Since every community member cannot participate in the SMC, the community selects members of the committee through a shared decision-making process.

Creating a School Management Committee

After the SMC members are selected, they must prepare a school improvement plan which is then submitted to the Ministry of Education. Once the proposal has been approved, the Ministry of Education transfers funds to the SMC to carry out the proposal. The finances are managed through a shared leadership process by the SMC members, who equally represent the wishes of their fellow community members. This model of shared leadership, joint teamwork, broad participation, and shared accountability has resulted in a unique sense of ownership and empowerment of communities. SMCs have not only attracted extra community contributions (about 25-40 %, in kind or in cash), but are also further strengthening core democratic values in the traditional communities of Afghanistan. The impact of the SMCs is very powerful in bringing about community development as every member of the community is involved in participative and collaborative ways to understand the change process, and empower themselves to bring about social change or reform.
Power of SMC

In the past, schools were all managed by a principal who was himself managed directly by the provincial education offices, and Ministry of Education officials. Farmers, who make up the majority of parents in rural schools, were never involved in school management decisions before the establishment of SMCs. Under this system, there was not much incentive for a farmer to visit a school and ask about the education of his children. His illiteracy, along with his low-status farming occupation, was enough to keep him away from the school environment. That is why the traditional perception of education—i.e., educating our children is only the school’s obligation—remained so dominant and resulted in the slow promotion of education, especially for girls.

SMCs reduce the power distance between the principal, teachers and parents, regardless of their educational level or social status, and create a participative and collaborative environment which encourages ownership in the education process. In this collaborative environment, the opinions of each member are valued, respected and questioned until common consensus is achieved. The shared responsibility of managing school activities has resulted in both parents and students being more motivation to get involved.

In effective SMCs, parents are encouraged to visit schools, and based on their knowledge suggest ideas for better learning. A farmer-parent X is now allowed and encouraged to talk and explain to students how fields are prepared, how different crops are planted and harvested, how different plant diseases are treated, etc. Farmer-parent Y who is famous for his knowledge about forecasting the weather (e.g., looking at the clouds and predicating the possibility and nature of rainfall), is encouraged to talk about his experiential learning about weather forecasting to the students. Parents are recognized and valued for their knowledge, and students are encouraged to acquire knowledge that will benefit their agrarian society; a much-needed match of skills and demand for economic and social development.

Challenges to SMCs

It is not that all SMCs are effective. There are SMCs that I observed which were dominated by the powerful or influential members. In these SMCs, that seemed to be significantly less effective, there was less participation, less involvement and little sense of ownership among the SMC members. For example, in some SMCs, the traditional dominant role of the principal (as a formal leader and educational expert), or the presence of former military commanders (for whom the incentive to be in the SMC was to keep their political influence), left little space for true participation of the community members. When parents/farmers, or other less powerful members, were a to participate they spoke very little and would often ask the principals to talk on their behalf or otherwise defer to more dominant and more powerful members such as local commanders.

Organizing the committee so that the voices of the powerless, less influential and marginalized members are heard in the presence of more powerful or influential members, is one of the important considerations that needs rigorous community mobilization. Rigorous community mobilization that creates awareness, demand, and will for community participation in education will make SMCs sustainable. Community participation in traditional cultures such as that of Afghanistan doesn’t happen overnight—it is a gradual process of change which the Ministry of Education is committed to implementing successfully. Overall, despite many challenges, SMCs have proven to be the most successful educational intervention in the development of education in post-conflict Afghanistan.

 

Creating a School Management Committee

SMCs are established by the Ministry of Education (through its provincial and district education offices) through a series of comprehensive social mobilization activities which encourage and guide communities in the participatory processes of managing a school. SMCs normally consist of 7–8 members from diverse interest groups; a school administrator or principal, parents, teachers and community elders. Since every community member cannot participate in the SMC, the community selects members of the committee through a shared decision making process.

After the SMC members are selected, they must prepare a school improvement plan which is then submitted to the Ministry of Education. Once the proposal has been approved, the Ministry of Education transfers funds to the SMC to carry out the proposal. The finances are managed through a shared leadership process by the SMC members, who equally represent the wishes of their fellow community members. This model of shared leadership, joint teamwork, broad participation, and shared accountability has resulted in a unique sense of ownership and empowerment of communities. SMCs have not only attracted extra community contributions (about 25-40 %, in kind or in cash), but are also further strengthening core democratic values in the traditional communities of Afghanistan. The impact of the SMCs is very powerful in bringing about community development as every member of the community is involved in participative and collaborative ways to understand the change process, and empower themselves to bring about social change or reform.

In the past, schools were all managed by a principal who was himself managed directly by the provincial education offices, and Ministry of Education officials. Farmers, who make up the majority of parents in rural schools, were never involved in school management decisions before the establishment of SMCs. Under this system, there was not much incentive for a farmer to visit a school and ask about the education of his children. His illiteracy, along with his low-status farming occupation, was enough to keep him away from the school environment. That is why the traditional perception of education—i.e., educating our children is only the school’s obligation—remained so dominant and resulted in the slow promotion of education, especially for girls.

SMCs reduce the power distance between the principal, teachers and parents, regardless of their educational level or social status, and create a participative and collaborative environment which encourages ownership in the education process. In this collaborative environment, the opinions of each member are valued, respected and questioned until common consensus is achieved. The shared responsibility of managing school activities has resulted in both parents and students being more motivation to get involved.

In effective SMCs, parents are encouraged to visit schools, and based on their knowledge suggest ideas for better learning. A farmer-parent X is now allowed and encouraged to talk and explain to students how fields are prepared, how different crops are planted and harvested, how different plant diseases are treated, etc. Farmer-parent Y who is famous for his knowledge about forecasting the weather (e.g., looking at the clouds and predicating the possibility and nature of rainfall), is encouraged to talk about his experiential learning about weather forecasting to the students. Parents are recognized and valued for their knowledge, and students are encouraged to acquire knowledge that will benefit their agrarian society; a much-needed match of skills and demand for economic and social development.

 

Challenges to SMCs

It is not that all SMCs are effective. There are SMCs that I observed which were dominated by the powerful or influential members. In these SMCs, that seemed to be significantly less effective, there was less participation, less involvement and little sense of ownership among the SMC members. For example, in some SMCs, the traditional dominant role of the principal (as a formal leader and educational expert), or the presence of former military commanders (for whom the incentive to be in the SMC was to keep their political influence), left little space for true participation of the community members. When parents/farmers, or other less powerful members, were a to participate they spoke very little and would often ask the principals to talk on their behalf or otherwise defer to more dominant and more powerful members such as local commanders.

Organizing the committee so that the voices of the powerless, less influential and marginalized members are heard in the presence of more powerful or influential members, is one of the important considerations that needs rigorous community mobilization. Rigorous community mobilization that creates awareness, demand, and will for community participation in education will make SMCs sustainable. Community participation in traditional cultures such as that of Afghanistan doesn’t happen overnight—it is a gradual process of change which the Ministry of Education is committed to implementing successfully. Overall, despite many challenges, SMCs have proven to be the most successful educational intervention in the development of education in post-conflict Afghanistan.

Requirement

  • school and mass education department, Odisha has though late initiated capacity building programmes for the School Management Committee members in the state.
  • Well, it is a welcome step from the government because the SMC members have key role to play as per the state rules on RTE act.But
    there is a hidden agenda remains as the school management committees are to be oriented by the BRCCs and CRCCs instead of other education officials.
  • It is seen and expected that the BRCCs and CRCCs are primarily working teachers who are additionally given the responsibility to check and monitor limited school activities.
  • They will be no more interested to express their weak point before
    the trainees i.e. SMC membersMany of the voluntary organizations working on RTE in remote pockets of the state claim that the trainers are only teaching on what is the role of the SMC members, how should they manage their responsibility. They do not train them the prospect part of SMC members and how can they intervene when teachers are not
    coming timely or not teaching regularly. So the capacity building remains one sided the real fruit of the power of SMCs are getting disappeared. Therefore,
  • the department must form a district level/ state level trainers from
    non-teaching officials from their department and do capacity building
    programmes so that it can cover both responsibilities and limitations of SMCs and the teachers.
  • To make the education system more effective and to encourage participation of parents in the decision process, a School Management Committee (SMC) will be formed in every school under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
  • A draft regarding the same was issued by the education department on March 22.
  • The committee will consist of 12 members and will monitor the daily activities of a school.

Of the 12 members, 9 representatives will be parents whose children study in the school. Of the nine representatives one compulsorily needs to be the parent of a student who was given admission to the school under the 25% reservation rule. The rest three members in the committee will consist of any of these -an educationist, a local body member, a mason, and a teacher. The role of the SMC will be to run the school, monitor and control the school activities, work on development of the school, decide on proper use of grants and to check whether RTE rules are being implemented in the school or not. Also, the committee will have to spread awareness about RTE in the nearby areas and promote education. The committee will have to conduct meeting every month and after two years a new committee will be formed with new members.

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