Activation and capacity building of School Management Committees

The Opportunity

Section 21 of the Right to Education Act (RTE) 2009 mandates the formation of School Management Committees (SMCs), which are elected bodies at the school level that monitor school functioning and oversee the utilisation of school grants.  Recognising that local communities have the greatest motivation for, and are best placed to, improving school quality, SMCs consist predominantly of parents along with teachers, local authorities and the school headmaster. Meaningful and sustained engagement of SMCs with schools can improve student attendance and parent participation in the learning process, leading to enhanced student learning outcomes.

Nearly 4 years on, after the implementation of the RTE, SMC formation is now almost universal. However, there is broad agreement that they have been unable to fulfil their potential as envisaged in the act, and that this would require greater intent and investment from all stakeholders.

The Model

In 2013, Pratham Delhi incubated Saajha to work with government schools to form, activate and build capacities of SMCs for improved learning outcomes.

Saajha provides capacity building of school stakeholders through bi-annual workshops with school principals and teachers to bring them closer to the parents, thus reducing the social divide and empowering the community to have a role in the school’s decision-making process. The workshops focus on fostering greater collaboration among members and on bolstering management skills, motivation and peer learning.

In addition to these workshops, Saajha offers on-the-ground support for school leaders, teachers and parents. Part of this support includes multiple visits each month to both the school and the community by a Saajha facilitator. Additionally, the project team conducts joint parent-teacher learning assessments.

Potential for Systemic Impact

Aside from the capacity building that Saajha does for SMCs in a few MCD schools, it also now works with the DoE, Delhi training master trainers for formation and activation of SMCs in all its schools. Through this engagement with the Delhi government, Saajha seeks to institutionalize SMC training programs, developing contextual training modules and working with the Delhi SCERT.