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Namma Shaale

Context

In India there has been a tradition of local communities owning the responsibility of maintaining the educational institutions. However, after independence, education became the responsibility of the State and thus the role of community and local bodies became marginalized. Recent studies on quality of education in government primary schools have shown that the both the quality of learning and level of involvement of community is very poor.

The recognition and realization of the importance of community participation for ensuring true democracy and the long-term success of various government initiatives can be traced way-back to 1975, when the Panchayati Raj Institutions came into being.

Government efforts to revive community participation in education cannot be undermined. In many instances, however, the various committees (School Betterment Committee/Village Education Committee/School Development and Management Committee) formed and the activities they have engaged in have remained merely ritualistic. In this sense, the efforts of the government have not been able to achieve complete and true community participation in all aspects of education. Capacity building initiatives for these institutions have also been largely ritualistic. Another major lacuna in previous attempts at ensuring community participation is the absence of focused efforts to engage the community in issues relating to quality of education, to truly understand their needs, aspirations and expectations from education and incorporate the same into mainstream systems of education.

Community participation in educational processes builds a sense of ownership. Any effort made in consultation with the community will have a lasting impact. However, this cannot be ritualistic, but should aim at creating avenues for true participation by the community in a more democratic manner, so that priority for education cannot be relegated to a secondary position. In essence, community sensitization and mobilization provides scope for owning the process and leads to real empowerment of the community. At this stage, it may be expected that the community would demand education and the shift in focus from supply-side mechanisms to demand-side mechanisms is possible. Now that the focus is on quality education at the elementary level, community is expected to have strong stakes in ensuring such a process at the village level. It is in this context that a strong need to understand the complex dynamics of community participation and their real impacts on Quality of Education was felt.

Namma Shaale is a pilot project that aims to understand and facilitate community participation to significantly contribute towards Universal Quality Education.

Objectives and Scope

Project Objectives

  • Evolve participatory and transparent processes for community participation for quality education.
  • Initiate systems leading to behavior and attitudinal change in different stakeholders of primary education leading to quality education supported by community.
  • Enable the community to demand the expected level of learning by their children from the education delivery system.
  • Develop interactive communication systems that automatically build accountability in schools towards the parents for quality education in a sustained manner
  • Evolve a comprehensive process manual of the project that can be used to facilitate implementation of similar initiatives on a larger scale
Project Scope

4 clusters in 4 districts of the State of Karnataka, namely:

Sl. No. Cluster Block District No. of Schools
1 Gavadagere Hunsur Mysore 20
2 Kundur Honnali Davanagere 17
3 Mirjan Kumta Uttara Kannada 17
4 Rukhmapur Surpur Gulbarga 18

Processes

Planning/Community Initiation Phase:

  • Bringing together all stakeholders on a common platform to discuss QE in government primary schools
  • Awareness Generation about QE (Focus Group Discussions)
  • Evolving common vision on School and Quality of Education
  • Participatory Planning and Action, resulting in short and long term Village and School Development Plan

Implementation / Community Empowerment Phase:

  • Capacity building of various stakeholders
  • Institutional Building and Networking
  • Establishing a Communication Web among the different stakeholders

Post-Implementation / Consolidation Phase:

  • Consolidation of institutions and their network
  • Establishing working relationship among various institutions on a sustainable basis
  • Evolving decentralized education leadership from school to district level

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Pro-active relationship between School and Community for ensuring quality education for all children.
  • Social leadership to lead the demand for Quality Education in government schools from among network of local based organisations.
  • Parents and School Development and Management Committees (SDMC) take active interest in the functioning of the school and assist teachers to deliver quality education as per norms of a shared vision.
  • All different stakeholders take pro-active role in improvement of school infrastructure and learning environment in school and village. The Community Based Organisations and the SDMC will ensure learning environment in the school and the village by ensuring regular attendance of children and teachers, reducing the burden of non academic activities of teachers, resource mobilization, providing support of volunteers wherever needed etc. The Grama Panchayats see education as a core area for development and provide the necessary political will to ensure quality education in the schools in their region.
  • Federations of SDMCs will be in place at Grama Panchayat & Cluster level for creating macro level environment for ensuring Quality Education in Government schools.