How Parents’ Active Engagement Transformed A School in Rural Maharashtra

Submitted by Tannishtha Mazumdar | Last Updated 12/11/20
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The Right to Education (RTE) Act - 2009 guarantees every child the right to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality. Interestingly, it has been observed in the state of Maharashtra that over the years, the preference for private schools outweighs that over government schools. As a result of this, the government schools are further lagging far behind in the race when it comes to providing quality education in the state.

Zilla Parishad Primary School, Thanepada, Nandurbar block is one case where the development of the institution had taken a backtrack since the past 12 years. A lack of adequate classrooms and the overall dilapidating infrastructure was another reason contributing to the condition of the school. Parents, Gram Panchayat Members, the Sarpanch and the School Management Committee (SMC) were hardly involved in the matters of the school.

However, on the insistence of a few teachers at the school, especially in terms of physical infrastructure led the way for change. With the help of the Head Master of the school, Gyan Prakash Foundation (GPF) stepped in to help establish a School Management Committee in line with the RTE Act. Gyan Prakash Foundation (GPF) works in collaboration with EdelGive Foundation’s Collaborators for Transforming Education (CTE) Programme, which works on improving the quality of rural education. This change was possible after months of convincing the Gram Panchayat and members of the school, that they could enable the development of a school on their own. The SMC started meeting monthly to chalk out and deliberate on the school development plan. It was ultimately added to the village development plan with the help of a member of the Gram Panchayat.

The School Development Committee with the help of the Head Master resolved to approach the villagers to seek support from the community despite knowing that it would not suffice the needs. SMC then decided to reach out to the alumni of the school. This plan received an excellent response, and the school managed to collect INR 7 lakhs for redevelopment work. With the help, this contribution and 14th Finance Commission SMC and parents constructed a new school building. The revamping process motivated parents and other villagers to contribute to the process. Today, the colourful school building not only has the provision for drinking water and toilets but also is the place where night study groups for youth are organized. 
 
SMC further decided that regular meetings would be scheduled with an agenda that exclusively focuses on an educational review. With the availability of e-learning in schools, students and teachers need to upskill to keep up with this 21st century skills. In order to do so, parents are also involved actively and Palak Sabhas are being organized on a quarterly basis. Palak Sabhas are mainly focused on the progress of the students in the quarter. The Sarpanch Mr Devrao Chaudhary and SMC president reached out to the Sujalan company for the CSR funds for further structural work. This will add to the collective efforts to upgrade the infrastructure and the purpose set by the school. The SMC President assured that funds will never be a problem for the school now since quality education is the only way for one’s comprehensive development.
As a result, all the students who had dropped out to join private schools are returning back to the ZPPS school. 

About EdelGive Foundation
EdelGive Foundation is a grant-making organisation, helping build and expand philanthropy in India by funding and supporting the growth of high-calibre small to mid-sized NGOs. EdelGive makes, receives and manages grants, to empower vulnerable children, women and communities via a zero-cost platform.
About Gyan Prakash Foundation (GPF)
Founded in 2011, GPF was established as a public charitable trust, to join the efforts of various NGOs, corporates and the government, towards ensuring last-mile connectivity for transformation in learning processes in Zila Parishad schools in Maharashtra. GPF works with the government system rather than creating parallel structures. GPF’s work in the area of using child wise learning level data for classroom planning has contributed towards the creation of the Competency-based report card for classroom planning in collaboration with MSCERT. To know more about GPF, visit, https://www.gyanprakash.org/.