To address systemic issues in education, the most important question
that needs to be asked and answered is
Who owns the School?

Shared Vision

The expectation from the education system needs to be primarily articulated by the community which is the key stakeholder in the entire system.

This also brings about the necessity of creating structures that allow this articulation to happen. Such community structures would need to constructively and consistently engage with the education system, bringing about a radical change in the manner decisions are taken, with regard to management of schools and the learning systems.

In such a context, IEC recognises the absence of any dynamic process or structure that enables engagement of various stakeholders (parents, teachers, educationists, education bureaucracy, people’s representatives, etc) in a transparent and equitable manner with the schooling system.

If the school is an expression of the kind of society one wants to create or live in, there needs to be a shared vision of what a school means or does to a society.

Stakeholder Ownership

Therefore, IEC has been working to effect a structural change in the education delivery system by empowering communities to take ownership and improve the quality of schools.

It implies working through structures at appropriate levels (village, Gram Panchayat, block, district) that are mandated to govern the education agenda at their respective levels – in terms of planning, implementation and review of enrolment, retention, infrastructure, learning outcomes, teacher access, resource mobilization etc.

The process of ownership is institutionalised through structures- the School Management Committees (SMC’s) at school level and Education Standing Committees at Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) at block and district level. Through ongoing practice of planning, implementation and review of key issues pertaining to schools, these structures are strengthened.

To facilitate a systemic change in the existing educational system, one needs to institutionalise processes of community ownership that would effect structures, practices and policy of elementary education.

Strengthening structures for community engagement

To empower these structures and build their institutional capability, the key processes that have been identified are as follow :

  • To strengthen the School Management Committee at the school level through a community level meeting (Shikshan Gram Sabha) highlighting SMC’s role and need for actual data on status of schools.
  • To strengthen the Gram Panchayat Standing Committees on Education
  • To strengthen the Standing Committees on Education at the Block and District level

The goal is to ensure that the structures at Village, Block & District levels collaborate to impact a structural change process in current educational practices.

When impact is experienced through the efforts of community, people’s belief in the system is strengthened

Ownership of schools signifies
Ownership of a vision of education