Delhi government schools will seek help from volunteer parents, who will be called 'school mitras', to bridge the gap between School Management Committees (SMCs) and parents, according to officials. The move comes following observations made in a recently released report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that despite active involvement of the SMCs in the schools, 63 per cent parents of the students going to government schools in Delhi do not know about the existence of SMCs.
"This is an uncomfortable sign since SMCs are meant to act as a bridge between parents and the schools, a means by which various concerns of the parents can reach the school management. However, this gap seems to exist because there is no structure or mechanism by which SMC members can reach out to the parents on an ongoing basis," said Zareen Taj, Additional Director, Directorate of Education (DoE). "In order to bridge the gap between SMCs and parents, volunteer parents have been nominated as 'school mitras' in the schools to render community services by assisting SMCs. To ensure smooth functioning of SMCs and school mitra, it is necessary to have a Zonal Monitoring Committee for the 'Parents Outreach Programme'," Taj added.
The DoE has directed schools that the committee shall ensure effective functioning of the outreach programme at the zonal level by motivating the teacher convener and nodal persons. "A school is termed as the best performing school when all the stakeholders are involved in the overall development of the students. SMCs were envisaged under the Right to Education Act as a means to increase parents' participation in the governance, monitoring and accountability of the schools and to act as a bridge between parents and the schools.
"SMCs have played an important role in the transformation of Delhi government schools. They have been involved in many activities from ensuring schools' cleanliness, reaching out to students who could not regularly attend school, helping organise summer camps, reading melas, etc. SMCs have done a lot of work at the school level and are continuing the good work," Taj said. The zonal-level committee will comprise five people, including two teacher conveners, two SMC members and one nodal officer. "The committee will monitor the progress of the parents' outreach programme in the respective zone. The panel will take regular feedback from the teacher convener of the respective school and coordinate with the head of the school for any issue or clarity about the outreach programme from time to time when needed," Taj added.