Friday, January 24, 2014

New Training Modules Give More Teeth to SMC on Funds

New Training Modules Give More Teeth to SMC on Funds

Published: 06th January 2014 07:22 AM
Last Updated: 06th January 2014 07:22 AM
If School Management Committees were accused of having no teeth and even lesser authority, some of it may find some change soon. In tune with the RTE Act, the new training modules for the SMCs that are to be finalized in the coming weeks, have pointed out that the School Management Committees monitor all the funds that is going to the school.
The SMC, which consists of parents, teachers, local body representatives and local social workers was set up in government schools in the state under the mandate of the RTE Act. The committees were set up to enchance the community particpation and the role of parents in the monitoring of schools.
By November 2013, most of the SMCs have come to the end of their first term and new training modules have been drafted for training the new members.
Activists argue that the current state of affairs was the result of an absence of clarity on the powers of the SMCs during the preparation of the first training modules which were developed immeditely after enforcement of the Act. 
Among the sections that lacked clarity was the monitoring of school funds by the Committee. The draft of the new training modules has clearly designated the role of the SMCs in monitoring funding and calls for training to ensure that the parent members are aware of their role.
“When the first trainings were conducted for the members, many of the trainers themselves did not know the functions of the School Management Committees. The new draft training modules say that any funds that go to the schools, be it even for the infrastructure works, must go through the SMC. Without the authority on the money the committee has no power and hence this is crucial for its functioning,” said Henri Tiphagne, of People’s Watch, one of the architects of the new module.
Another key proposal is that the training of the members, especially parents and women, should happen at every school instead of the cluster level and all the 20 members must be trained. This includes about 50 percent of women and 75 percent of parents in each committee. Earlier only three members from each school were trained about the functions of the SMCs. It has also emphasized the role of local NGOs and social activists in the committee as mandated by the Act to provide a critical monitoring of schools.
“The draft is in the final stages and we hope to release it by Pongal. This time a lot of detailing and time has gone into the modules to ensure that it is comprehensive. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has put aside Rs 4 crores for the training of the committee members. The rest of the funds for training of the master trainers and printing of the modules will be carried out by the UNICEF,” said the project Director of SSA, Pooja Kulkarni.

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