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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Prevention of dropouts
Improvement of facilities and
Collection of School Education
Approval of budget and accounts
presented by the School Committee
The School Committee
elected by PTA shall have 5 members as follows
4 members are elected by
At least 2 of them shall be
At least 1 shall be from SC /
ST / minorities
Head-master will be
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
His services should be
voluntary and free as far as possible
If necessary an honorarium can
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
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
Education Committee (FEC)
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
Sarpanch shall be the chairman of
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.
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
Education Fund (PEF)
Education tax collected under
AP School Act 11982
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
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
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
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.
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.