Education plays a major role in various aspects of development such as employment, health, sanitation, hygiene and alleviating poverty. Acquiring new skills for better employment is also dependent on it.
India enacted ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act’ or 'Right to Education Act', an Act of the Parliament of India upholding the importance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. However, education, especially primary education, needs more attention.
To steadily maintain the growth rate of education in India what is required is to:
- Increase the enrollment rate
- Increase the retention rate
- Decrease the dropout rate
As per the 11th Schedule of the 73rd amendment of the Constitution of India Education including primary and secondary school, Technical training and vocational education, Adult and non-formal education and Libraries fall under the 29 subjects transferred to the Panchayats.
To ensure education for all, Gram Panchayat can work to:
||Access to entitlements like scholarships, uniforms, textbooks, mid-day meals etc.
|Access for special needs children to schools.
|Building of girls’ toilets to ensure retention of girls in schools.
|Evening and mobile schools, learning centres and residential camps to provide bridge courses for dropouts/out-of-school children.
|Collaboration with line departments to fill vacant teacher posts.
|Transport and hostels for children in isolated areas.
||Awareness on rights of children under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
|Environment for 100 percent enrolment and retention of students in schools.
|Comprehensive participatory education plan to improve basic physical school facilities/social environment/child assessment.
|Plan to improve infrastructure for Anganwadis.
||Preschool Anganwadi welfare committees.
|Education standing committee to oversee operationalization of RTE.
|Libraries to support literacy programme.
|Total Literacy Campaign (TLC) by ensuring functioning of Panchayat Lok Shiksha Committee chaired by GP president.
||Quality of education
|Rates of and reasons for school dropouts for girls and boys for further action.
|Rates of and reasons for irregular attendance for girls and boys for further action.
How do we begin to plan for improving education in the Gram Panchayat?
What can our Gram Panchayat focus on while Planning for Education for All?
How do we set targets to achieve the goals?
If these are our goals, what are the specific things we should plan to achieve and by when? Can our Gram Panchayat plan for the following?
- All children from 3-6 years attend Anganwadi.
- All children of school going age are enrolled in school.
- All children who have been enrolled in school complete schooling (No dropouts).
- A particular percent of students who complete high school attend higher secondary school.
- A particular percent of students in the village attend higher education.
- 100% literacy in the village.
- All schools and Anganwadis in the village have sanitary toilets with water and seperate toilets for girls.
- No post of teachers is vacant at any point of time.
What can a Gram Panchayat Do? The Action Points
- Checking for dropouts and irregular attendance in schools.
- Monitoring quality of education through the PTAs/SMCs.
- Facilitating provision of facilities of transportation/ Hostel for children living in geographically isolated areas.
- Facilitating access to entitlements like scholarships/stipend, free uniform,text books, insurance, teaching-learning materials, stationery, mid-day meals for children.
- Facilitating special needs children to access schools/special schools.
- Ensuring construction of girls’ toilets where none exist and make dysfunctional toilets functional in collaboration with relevant agencies.
- Facilitating analysis of the reasons for dropouts and irregular attendance and to formulate possible solutions, through people’s participation.
- Facilitating conduction of evening schools, mobile schools, local learning centers and residential camps for providing bridge courses for drop outs/out of school children.
- Promoting awards/ incentives/certificates/gifts etc. in public gathering to children as a mark of recognizing their achievements in academics /sports/games etc.
- Liaising with relevant departments to post teachers in vacant positions.
- Facilitating development of a comprehensive education plan to improve the basic physical facilities / physical environment / social environment/ incentives / class room processes/ monitoring / assessment of children/community support etc.
- Liaising with relevant departments/agencies to improve the facilities and infrastructure of Anganwadis.
- Promoting incentives, teaching learning materials, stationary etc. to those children enrolled in preschools/ Anganwadis.
- Strengthening pre-school Anganwadi welfare committees.
- Promoting Total Literacy Campaign (TLC) approach for eradication of adult illiteracy.
- Facilitating strengthening of existing libraries in supporting literacy programmes.
Resources to look for
People to support us
Teachers, SMCs, Anganwadi workers, ASHAs, literacy workers, other department officials, ICDS supervisors.
Here is an example
Steps to be followed if the Gram Panchayat decides for total enrollment in schools
- Convene the Gram Sabha.
- Put forth the idea of 100% enrollment in schools.
- Decide on a campaign – public as well as door to door.
- Include this in the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).
- Conduct a Survey of the children of school going age.
- Assess the present status of enrollment.
- Analyse the reasons for dropouts / non-enrollment.
- Identify solutions – common or individual specific.
- Conduct a Door to door campaign.
- Set up a community led monitoring committee.
- Conduct regular monitoring of enrollment, attendance and retention.
How is this exercise linked to Sustainable Development Goals?
Sustainable Development Goal - 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
The Universal Targets
- By 2020, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.
- By 2020, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.
- By 2022, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including University.
- By 2022, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
- By 2020, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for vulnerable,including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.
- By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults,both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.
Now look at the goals and targets set by your Gram Panchayat – you are contributing to the SDG goal and targets to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Source : Handbook on Sustainable Development Goals and Gram Panchayats