Created by nabamaster on Thu, 2012-06-21 21:11
Raghu, a fifty one year old man was very surprised when he was elected as a member of school management Committee of his village school. Though he was denying for so, but he could not refuse the words of the school headmaster and other parents who also hold position of this committee. He was surprised because, a man like him who has never been to school, how could he manage a school? Was it not a bogus for him? Whereas SMCs have important role to play on the overall development of a public school under RTE Act, Raghu was instead wondering in his own thought. Even, he heard the SMC name for the first time when he became a member. This is not the only case to denote. During the survey, it was found in every part of the state that most of the SMC Members do not know about its functionality. And exceptionally, where SMCs are under political banner, exploitations and overpowering is occurring. Both the activity however not touching the lines where SMC was dreamt up. School based Management is not a new concept. It was practiced in many countries of the world much before and now it is renamed as school leadership.
Now, its not the only headmaster who can run to school. The Concept of SMCs and powers conferred on them under Right to Education Act shows that the members of school management committee have decisive role to play for the overall development of the school.
It is reflected well in the Act itself that SMCs have major role to play so far as bringing children to school under the Act. They are supposed to prepare School Development Plan/Annual Work Plan for the development of the School. More than 75% of the members of SMC will be represented by the parents. It is eyeing that most of the parents of public school children live a very meagre life. They are being engaged as manual laborers where they always fight for their daily Roti.
It is also well observed and estimated that the present administrative mechanism and policy rigidity does not allow the members to attend all meetings as they can’t do it at the cost of their livelihood and they are not among those affluent parents who could be getting down to Schools from their bikes and cars. Instead, the norms, responsibilities and accountability laid on the very Act remains fallow as most of the SMC Members are not aware about its functional modalities.
On the other hand, the state government in Odisha has given the duty of capacity building of SMCs to the Cluster Resource Centres Coordinators (CRCCs) who are basically teachers. So there persists a limited work scope for those teachers to transfer skills on the duties as well as powers conferred on to the SMC Members because in many case, it is felt that they are not acknowledging the powers of SMCs as it might be hazardous to them. Also the intervention regarding Capacity building of SMCs by voluntary organizations is very low in Odisha.
When it comes to practice, SMCs have complete financial power over three annual grants (Teacher learning Material or TLM, School Development Grant or SDG, and School Maintenance Grant or SMG). These mount to approximately 6% of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) budget (SSA is the programmatic vehicle for implementing RTE). In addition, the SMCs have some powers over decision making on other monies that arrive in schools including infrastructure funds. To facilitate grant utilization, SMCs are expected to follow the norms laid down in SSA framework (6) and the procurement policies enshrined in the Revised Manual on Financial Management and Procurement for SSA (7). The combination of these two policies determines the extent of financial autonomy enjoyed by the SMCs especially with regard to their ability to meet school needs and requirements. How do these norms play out in school verandah? To what extent do these norms enable SMCs to take decisions for schools?