The first workshop on Capacity Building of School Management Committees (SMCs) was organised by Central Square Foundation and Accountability Initiative on November 22, 2013, in New Delhi.
The Right to Education (RTE) Act in Section 21 A empowers parents and the larger community to participate in the everyday functioning of the school. Through the establishment of SMCs, parents are given the opportunity to monitor the delivery of basic provisions such as Mid Day Meal Scheme, toilet facilities, and the like. Additionally, it allows parents to participate in the decision making process on important matters of school administration such as expenditures, creation of School Development Plans (SDPs), and Annual Work Plans (AWPs).
This workshop brought together practitioners and organisations interested in working with communities to discuss key challenges around effective implementation and operation of SMCs. The seminar saw participation from 25 non- profits and civil society organizations, including 12 practitioners working across 11 states. The objectives of this seminar were to:
- Share best practices and lessons learnt across programmes
- Collate tools, training materials and assets on a common ‘open’ platform, and encourage their use and distribution
- Encourage organizations with similar long-term visions or models to network, find synergies and collaborate
- Discuss opportunities for partnership with government and understand how to best advocate in a cohesive manner
The day-long seminar was organized at Center for Policy Research in New Delhi and was divided into the following 4 sessions:
- Community Mobilization: The Big Picture
This session emphasized the importance of community participation and shared global evidence to support its efficacy.
- Using Technology to Empower Communities
This session outlined how technology has empowered communities in sectors such as health and sanitation, drawing learnings from these practices that can be leveraged to support communities in the education sector.
- Highlighting Operational Innovations
This exhibition was organised to highlight practitioners’ on-the-ground operational innovations and to promote participant interaction.
- School Management Committees: The Road Ahead
The final session of the day focused on navigating the current policy landscape and its various roadblocks to making SMCs a reality. Speakers suggested initiatives that practitioners can take to scale-up their programmes.
The Exhibition Round: This session gave 10 SMC practitioners the opportunity to highlight operational innovations in the field. The organisations that participated were Pratham Hyderabad, Lokmitra, Naandi Foundation, CfBT, Bodh Shiksha Samiti, Educate Girls, Pratham Delhi, Nalanda, American India Foundation and Prajayatna
Dr. Jyotsna Puri, from International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and Azad Oommen, Executive Director at Central Square Foundation