The role of VEC/PTAs/SMDCs/Urban Local Bodies in School
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The role of VEC/PTAs/SMDCs/Urban Local Bodies in School Management and Supervision in the Context of SSA: Case study of Bihar. ASER Centre, New Delhi. Coverage. Rural Darbhanga: High minority population, flood prone area East Champaran: very low female literacy rate, low retention rate

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The role of VEC/PTAs/SMDCs/Urban Local Bodies in School Management and Supervision in the Context of SSA: Case study of Bihar

ASER Centre, New Delhi


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Coverage

Rural

  • Darbhanga: High minority population, flood prone area

  • East Champaran: very low female literacy rate, low retention rate

  • Purnea: High minority and ST population, one of the lowest literacy rates

  • Nalanda: Highest literacy rate in the state, close to capital city

    Urban

  • Vaishali

  • Patna


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Background of VSS: important landmarks, policies and reforms

  • VECs introduced in 1988 by notification: not democratic, only BEO nominated members, Mukhiya president

  • Early 1990s: BEP launched, block as a unit of planning, participatory planning and implementation as cornerstones, VEC reorganised school-wise- elections, president also elected, 50% women etc.

  • 1995-96: further restructuring of the VEC, process based formation, mobilisation through utpreraks, micro planning activities

  • VEC replaced by VSS in 2000 (Bihar Rajya Vidyalaya Shiksha Samiti Act), new Act passed in 2007(Bihar Elementary School Education Committee Act).

  • Further modifications being made to the VSS Act to streamline with RTE Act.


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Implications of new norms for the study

  • Study conducted in Bihar at a time of transition

  • Committees based on old norms (VSS Act 2000) found in 67% schools.

  • Ad hoc committees comprising HM and senior teacher in 33% schools.

  • Interviews based on old norms and VSS functioning in the past. Old members tracked

  • Additional questions on future of VSS introduced


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Findings: 1. Formation & composition

  • 88% members elected, 9% nominated, 4% ex-officio

  • Close to 90% said VSS constituted through an aam sabha

  • % of women within the norm of 33%

  • Majority of members between the age of 31-50

  • 1/4th members illiterate

  • HM and BEO played biggest role in formation. In some cases Mukhiya, MLA and CRCC

  • Constitution through aamsabha prone to manipulation

  • Monitoring the constitution of VSS is difficult

  • Large number of schools (70,000) and increased financial involvement necessitates a formal election process.

“A monitor and/or an election in charge is deputed by the BEO. The Mukhiya is also informed about elections but is not obliged to attend. The BEO himself goes to as many election sites as possible”

-FGD Darbhanga


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Findings: 2. Tenure, meetings, decision making

  • Close to 70% knew the tenure

  • Low awareness of number of meetings in a year, 21% no response. Despite dates being fixed

  • Only 50% said monthly meetings took place

  • High participation of women and SC/ST reported (above 80%)

  • Majority said decisions were taken unanimously

  • Good practice of record keeping

  • Tenure must correspond to the time period of school development plan for better planning and greater accountability

  • Fixing meeting date is not enough. Monthly meetings need to be better publicised and mandatorily held in a public space

  • ‘Unanimously taken decisions’ needs to be probed further. Tendency for meetings to be dominated by influential members.


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Findings:3. Awareness of functions

Awareness

  • Members most aware of role in increasing student enrolment & monitoring teacher attendance.

  • Only 1/3rd referred to supervision of civil works

  • Lower levels of awareness in urban areas


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Findings:4. Roles and functions performed

  • VSS activities

  • >60% VSS members visit school more than once a month, activities conducted correspond to awareness.

  • According to parents: monitoring teacher attendance, MDM, enrollment

  • 40% parents felt VSS helped to a large extent, high proportion ‘didn’t know’

  • According to teachers: MDM, construction and maintenance of school building and enrollment

“Bachhon ki padhai likhai dekhte hain”

-VSS member, Nalanda

“Shikshak theek se padha rahein hain ki nahin”

-VSS member, Darbhanga

  • Financial activities

  • A high proportion of members familiar with financial records and transactions

  • Internal audit only. No external agency

  • Majority said it is the school principal who handles financial transactions

  • Only half said that a school plan and budget had been made.


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Findings: 5. capacity building

  • 2 types of training: 2 day training (Lok Sashaktikaran ki Pahal) for community leaders at cluster level VSS CM, Secy, female member, anganwadi worker, mukhiya nominee, HM)

  • 1 day orientation at school level

  • Excellent training content

  • 61% had not received any training

  • Training agency is usually block officials

  • Content according to VSS: monitoring teacher attendance and work, MDM. Monitoring civil work least referred to

  • Ensure training is uniformly implemented across the state on a priority basis

  • Increase duration and frequency if training

  • Make training residential to increase retention

“ Training helped in understanding how to bring VSS members and other community members together for school improvement”

-VSS member, East Champaran

“Sirf do din ka picnic manaya gaya”

-VSS member, Purnea


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Findings: 6. Linkages and convergences

Linkages with PRIs

  • Strong structural linkage

  • VSS is a sub-committee of the sukh-suvidha committee of the Gram Panchayat and functions under it

  • 2 Mukhiya nominees are part of the VSS

  • PRIs given responsibility for planning, implementing and monitoring of elementary education

  • Other points of convergence: Teacher appointments, payment of salaries

  • Functional linkage weak

  • Mukhiya and mukhiya nominees largely untrained. No specific training on promoting synergies between PRI and VSS

  • Mukhiyas reasonably well informed. Activities of VSS according to Mukhiyas: enrollment, MDM, teacher attendance

  • No formal relationship between mukhiya and VSS


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Linkages and convergences (cont.)

Linkages with BRCCs, CRCCs

  • CRCCs & BRCCs ambiguous about how often they meet the VSS

  • No established or ‘formal’ monitoring system

  • No established system of grievance redressal

  • No regular reporting from VSS

  • In meetings school grants and schemes most frequently discussed (Acc to 67% BRCCs)

  • Wider range of issues discussed with CRCCs: Learning, MDM, enrollment, retention, school grants, schemes etc.

“ There is no established system for grievance redressal at the block or cluster level. Complaints are directed upwards to the block or district but there is no real norm”

-VSS in charge, East Champaran

  • Relationship between BRCs, CRCs and VSS needs clarity

  • Feedback, reports, information from VSS needs to utilised

  • Stronger grievance redressal mechanisms needed


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Findings: 7. Future of the VSS

  • Are you aware of the government’s decision to dissolve the VSS?

  • 60% VSS members unaware of new act. 60% of teachers unaware.

  • What would you like to see different in the new VSS?

  • VSS members: members better educated, qualities of members listed, teachers should not be included, few powers of office bearers etc.

  • Teachers: educated members, qualities, teachers should be freed from VSS related responsibilities, better coordination among members, VSS should not be politicised


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General recommendations

  • New norms must be finalised and elections should be held at the earliest. Currently functioning ad-hoc committees lack community participation and transparency

  • Participation should be incentivised. Link VSS membership with adult literacy programmes

  • Problematic relationship between VSS and teachers needs to be addressed. Orientation of teacher and mutual understanding of shared responsibilities in school management needed.

  • Impact in the larger village community needs to be increased



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