‘School complexes’ need more focus

Crying for attention: Lack of teachers at the mandal parishad school in Jakkampudi Colony near Vijayawada impacts the quality of education.  

School complexes, seen as the basic unit of educational monitoring through collective efforts at grassroots level, are losing their sheen, according to the stakeholders engaged in the programme.

First incorporated in Kothari Commission Report (1964-66), the concept of school complexes is based on the assumption that high and higher secondary schools have better facilities, which can be utilised by the primary and middle schools. The former also have better teaching staff and infrastructure facilities.

Five or six primary and upper primary schools form a complex and get their academic and administrative support from the nodal secondary/senior secondary school.

The attached schools may arrange co-curricular activities, give better exposure to their students at the school complex. In case of temporary absence of a teacher due to illness or some other reason, the school complex head can provide a substitute from a neighbouring school.

A large number of academic issues and problems can be discussed at the school complex level.

Every State has asked to form school complexes. In Andhra Pradesh, of the total 4,034 school complexes formed, only 3,748 are functioning. Taking serious note of the fact that these bodies have not been conducting the mandatory monthly meetings, State Project Director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has asked the SSA Project Officers and District Education Officers across the State to make all the school complexes functional.

The primary school complexes in the State are scheduled to meet on September 24 and 25.

Debate on efficacy

While department officials are trying to revive and strengthen school complexes that also find mention in the draft New Education Policy 2019, teachers and leaders of teacher unions debate their efficacy.

“They may have been set up with good intention of linking primary and secondary schools to break the isolation and pave the way for them to work together for common good and also to encourage innovation. But, over the years, the purpose has been diluted,” says P. Babu Reddy, general secretary, UTF. Most elementary schools in State have only two teachers. With one of them attending the programmes, the other is left to manage the entire school, he points out.

“The whole exercise is aimed at fostering creativity and innovation but it is reduced to a mere formality with heads of the school complexes not taking any initiative for constructive progress,” says S. Ramakrishna, State president of Municipal Teachers’ Federation.Mr. Reddy suggests that the programmes taken up by school complexes be integrated in academic schedules, but Mr. Ramakrishna moots use of technology for live sessions. “We live in a digital world where everybody is connected. Why not use technology and save time and resources for these programmes,” he says.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 1:11:23 PM |

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