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     School Education ......

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  • In a civilized society, there is nothing more important than education. It is education that brings the best out of a human being, and allows a person to fulfil his / her potential. In particular, school education is vital to make an individual a productive member of society by imparting the basic skills and giving him the essential tools of modern economic progress.

  • A democracy survives by informed public opinion and intelligent and rational choices. Self-governance becomes a mockery without a literate people capable of monitoring their representatives, and keeping them under constant check. Education is the very essence of democracy.

  • The literacy levels of the country are appallingly low. India has almost half the illiterates of the world. Among major countries, we have the lowest literacy. So far no country achieved significant integrated economic development without very high levels of literacy.

  • The percentage of literacy in our whole population is only 43% according to 1991 census. When population above 7 years only is taken into account, this literacy level is 52%. Even among these 'literates' many are incapable of reading or writing.

  • Even by low Indian standards, the literacy levels of Andhra Pradesh are very low. Only 37% of our population is literate. When we consider only the population above 7 years of age, this level goes p to 44%. The female literacy if only 27.64% of total women in our state.

  • Despite spending vast amounts of money on education over the past 5 years, we achieved shamefully low level of results. It is well recognized that a lot more money and resources should be deployed for school education.

  • But even the money spent in government-controlled schools is not yielding good results. Most people have lost faith in government schools.

  • In the early years after independence, school education grew rapidly, and government schools gave an opportunity to millions of children to fulfil their potential. Now most people have lost faith in government schools, and only the poorest and weakest segments of our population send their children to them.

  • This happened largely because the better-off sections wanted English education to their children in the hope of better future. As government schools are not patronized by the informed and influential sections, the quality of education declined in them. As quality declined, many more parents took their children out of government schools.

  • As a vicious cycle set in, only the children of the weakest and least influential parents remain in government schools. As a result, education became a plaything of local politics, and a secure source of income for most teachers without any accountability.

  • As those who have stakes in the future of their children have no power or influence, and as those who wield power have not stakes in the school system, our government schools are in a sad state. Most of the teachers themselves do not dare to send their children to the government schools where they teach!

  • Unless the parents who need the schools for their children have real influence and power to manage the schools, there will be no improvement in our school education. Only when stakes and power go together, will any public service, and education in particular, improve. Otherwise most of the resources spent on education will continue to be wasted.

  • In Andhra Pradesh a few tentative steps are being taken to give parents some role in school education. However, these are very inadequate, as the politicians are more concerned about the power of organized employees than about the future of the children from the poorer sections.

Election Committees

  • A law has been enacted in 1998 to provide for some participation of parents in school education. By this law Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) are formed in all government and aided schools. Education Committees are elected at the village panchayat, mandal, municipal and district levels. A State level advisory body is nominated by the government.

Parent-Teachers' Association (PTA)

  • All preprimary, primary and secondary schools and other government non-formal and adult education centres will have these PTAs. The following are the guidelines:

  • All the parents enrolled in the school can be members

  • To be actual members, they should pay a fee of Rs.1 per month (paid in two half-yearly instalments of Rs.6 each)

  • PTAs are formed by 30th June every year.

  • All teachers are members.

  • All students will participate in PTA meetings

  • The parent members of PTA will elect a School Committee of 4 members.

  • 20% attendance shall be quorum for PPTA meetings

Responsibilities of PTAs

  • 100% enrollment

  • Prevention of dropouts

  • Improvement of facilities and teaching

  • Collection of School Education Fund

  • Approval of budget and accounts presented by the School Committee

School committee

  • The School Committee elected by PTA shall have 5 members as follows

  • 4 members are elected by parents

  • At least 2 of them shall be women

  • At least 1 shall be from SC / ST / minorities

  • Head-master will be member-convenor

  • In high schools, the student who obtained first rank in 9th class shall be a sixth member.

  • Election shall be by consensus or show of hands

  • The School Committee is mainly responsible to discharge the functions of PTA. The committee will also monitor school health programme, and raise resources to improve the school.

  • The School Committee can appoint temporary teachers when required.

  • This teacher must be a local person

  • His services should be voluntary and free as far as possible

  • If necessary an honorarium can be paid

  • This shall be paid from the funds raised by the school committees from membership fees and donations.

  • These teachers shall have no right to permanent employment

School Education Fund (SEF)

  • Every school will have a SEF which will be maintained in an account in a nationalized bank branch or post office. The sources of this Fund are as follows:

  • Grants from local or State governments for incidental expenditure

  • Education cess raised under law and released by the Panchayat Education Fund

  • Membership fees from parents

  • Donations

Panchayat Education Committee (FEC)

  • For every Gram Panchayat, a PEC is formed as follows:

  • 2 members from each School Committee — one the chairman and the other a woman member

  • Coopted members from voluntary organizations in education field and donars - not to exceed 1/3 of the membership

  • Those who donate Rs/50,000 shall be life-members

  • Sarpanch shall be the chairman of PEC

  • Headmaster of the high school or upper primary or primary school in the village will be the member-convenor

  • Term of office of coopted members is 2 years.

  • PEC has the following main functions:

  • Proper enrollment and functioning of schools

  • Determine school calender and timings subject to guidelines of education department

  • Plan and implement programme for compulsory school education

  • Improve school facilities

Panchayat Education Fund (PEF)

  • Each PEC shall establish a PEF as follows:

  • Education tax collected under AP School Act 11982

  • Donations

  • Grants of State and Union governments for education

  • The account shall be opened in a nationalized bank or post office

  • Sarpanch and convenor shall jointly maintain account

  • PEC cannot spend PEF funds directly. These grants shall be released to the School Committees according to their annual plans

  • Local Fund Audit department will audit PEF funds

  • If guidelines are violated, convenor shall bring it to the notice of District Education Officer (DEO). DEO's clarification shall be accepted by PEC

Other Education Committees

  • Similar Education Committees are formed at the mandal, municipal corporation and district levels. There are also nominated District Education Board (DEB) and State Education Board (SEB) to monitor the technical and academic issues

  • As can be seen from the above provisions, the new law makes a beginning in involving parents in school education. It is the duty of parents, community leaders and voluntary organizations to make this participation effective.

  • In all developed countries, education is taken very seriously and citizens are deeply concerned about their children's schooling. Most community activities revolve around the school. In elections at all levels, the quality of school education is a major issue debated.

  • In our country our political process has completely ignored school education. You should assert your rights as a parent and exercise your responsibilities as a parent to protect the future of your child.

  • If you need any support or guidance in this respect, please contact your local Lok Satta unit or district branch or Apex Unit. There is nothing more important than school education for the future of our democracy and society. Lok Satta will provide all necessary guidance to help you improve the functioning of your child's school.

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