Constitution of School Management Committees (SMCs) in every government, local body and government-aided private school in the State as required under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act - 2009 and making them play their role effectively would ensure education to all, according to A.Mohammed Aslam, State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Addressing media on the sidelines of a regional consultation meeting held here on Tuesday for SMC module preparation, he said the SMCs could play a pivotal role in upgrading education by improving the quality of teaching, enrolment rate, infrastructure in schools, preventing students from dropping out and creating awareness about the right of children to education.
He said the government had mandated that 75 per cent of SMC members should be parents or guardians of the students.
There must be equal representation to elected members of local authority, school teachers, educationists and the students (to be selected by parents in the committee) in the remaining 25 per cent.
Fifty per cent of the members of each SMC should be women and proportionate representation should be given to parents and guardians of children belonging to disadvantaged groups like the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, HIV-affected people, transgenders, and weaker sections (whose family income is below Rs.2 lakh per annum).
The SMCs were supposed to monitor the functioning of schools, ensure regular presence of teachers, maximum enrolment and attendance of all children from the neighbourhood (one kilometre for primary classes and three km for upper primary classes), and assess their learning ability.
Mr.Aslam said the SMCs should also alert the Education Department authorities if there was any deviation from the rights of the children, and mental or physical harassment.
Monitoring implementation of midday meal scheme, ensuring that no teacher engaged in private teaching activity, preparing and implementing a School Development Plan and monitoring utilisation of government grants were some of their duties, he added.
Officials and activists from Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Theni and Dindigul took part in the meeting organised jointly by the Directorate of Elementary Education and UNICEF and facilitated by the Institute of Human Rights Education (IHRE). Aruna Rathinam, education specialist, UNICEF, and Henri Tiphagne of the IHRE also participated.
Mr.Aslam said another consultation meeting would be conducted in Tiruchi on Thursday.