The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 envisages the creation of a School Management Committees (SMCs) in all Government and aided schools to enable greater participation of parents in school's functioning and ensure effectiveness of education system.
In Chennai, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), a flagship programme of the Central Government in partnership with the State Governments, conducted a 3-day residential training of SMCs at its block resource centres in 10 zones. It sought to spread awareness among SMC members about the importance of elementary education for children between the age of 6 and 14.
In Mylapore Zone, the first batch SMC training was held between March 12 and 14 in four centres — N.S. Garden (R. A. Puram), Gandhigrammam, Velachery and Tharamani — by block supervisor G. Divakar and the Block Resource Teachers-Educators. It was conducted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The training focussed mainly on the provisions of the RTE Act, basic rights of children, functions of SSA, school development programmes, health, hygiene and school sanitation, duties and responsibilities of SMC members and need for quality education. Of the 20-member SMC from each school, six members, including a parent, the school head, a self-help group member, the SMC chairman and two elected members, were part of the training. The SSA also roped in experts in the field of law and health to facilitate better understanding among participants.
At N.S. Garden, the SMCs met at the Corporation Middle School. A detailed session on Health and Hygiene was conducted by Kishore Kumar, a paediatrician. A lawyer was also invited to talk on the RTE Act and Child Rights.
C. Vallaimmal, teacher representative from Sigapi Ramaswamy Primary School, said that she found the session interesting and useful. “The sessions were interactive and all our doubts on health and diet were cleared by the guest speaker.” Padmawati, a parent representative, felt that the sessions were quite informative. “We were given clear details about provisions of the Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.” Stating that interaction is the best way of teaching, Thenarasi, a SSA Block Resource Teacher-Educator, said she felt happy that the participants were encouraged to ask questions. Of the 69 schools selected for the training session under the Mylapore Zone, 49 were covered in the first batch. The second batch will be held between March 19 and 21 in SSA centres at Santhome, Pattinapakkam and Alwarpet.