SMCs brings back students to classrooms in remote Uttar Pradesh
Built in 1962, the Mathura Nagar Primary School, four years back resembled a dump-yard, neglected both by the state’s and villagers’ apathy towards education. The headmaster hardly came and the villagers even used to defecate in the school premises.
Nestled against the backdrop of the Himalayas and lush greenery is Uttar Pradesh’s last frontier in the east, the Maharajganj district. Villages here rise with the sun and get lost in the darkness as dusk falls
But in July, 2011, a year after the implementation of the Right to Education Act, a School Management Committee (SMC) was formed. A group of uneducated, yet motivated, parents joined hands with the new headmaster, Dr Kailash Nath Maurya, to change the fate of the school and the village children.
Collective efforts need of the hour Under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education, every school is required to setup an SMC — a local body composed of parents, guardians, women, headmaster and representatives of the gram panchayat.
The 36 master trainers trained by UNICEF then assisted a pro-active district administration in the training of SMC teams in 2,122 schools in the entire Maharajganj district.
Delegating responsibility and accountability is key The committee mobilized villagers and for the benefit of their children’s education, they agreed to repaint the school without charging any money for their labour. During monsoon, kids used to fall on their way to school, so the SMC got together and eight people donated their land to build a proper road that leads to the school.
Though the SMC meets once every month, more meetings can be called if the parents demand so. “Benches were installed in classrooms when few parents raised the issue that their kids don’t like sitting on the floor. An overhead electrical wire was changed after it was pointed out to be old and risky,” explains Yadav.
In four years, the committee has managed to create a sense of ownership among the villagers towards the school, turning a dilapidated building into a thriving system. From 116 enrolments in 2012, the school has touched 360 this year. Due to an involved school management committee, many in the community are now even withdrawing their kids from private schools and enrolling them in MNPS.
For the students, an attentive parent-teacher setup means better motivation to study. For Kailash Maurya, the school’s principal and the only teacher, parents’ involvement has meant appreciation of his work and sharing of his responsibility.
SMC ensures 85 per cent attendance Since the enactment of the RTE Act, SMCs have been constituted in 88 per cent of the schools in India
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