Friday, July 30, 2010

PROMOTING RIGHT TO EDUCATION

Ranald Lopes sdb

CHHOTA UDEPUR, July 28, 2010: While enacting the Right to Education law may have been relatively easy for the Indian Government, ensuring that every Indian Child, and especially children in remote villages, can actually benefit from this law is going to be a mammoth task. It is an interesting coincidence that as the RTE comes into force, the ‘Governance Project’ being implemented by several Don Bosco centres in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh enters into Year 2, and the thrust for this year is enabling people to secure the proper implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in their villages.

Against this backdrop, Lok Seva Kendra, Chhota Udepur organized a training workshop on Wednesday, 28th July, which was attended by 94 Village and SHG leaders from 20 villages. The programme began with Fr. Ranald Lopes explaining the role that LSK planned to play to secure the proper implementation of the RTE and SSA in the Chhota Udepur villages. Mr. Prakash Ahire then introduced the resource persons for the occasion, Ms. Gangaben Rathwa (Taluka Kelwani Nirikhsak) and Mr. Makarani (SSA Resource Centre Coordinator).

Ms. Gangaben Rathwa enlightened the participants on various issues such as the importance of the birth certificate, the government’s educational system, administrative procedures, schemes available for women and children, etc. She also stressed the role and responsibility of the parents in ensuring the education of their children.

Mr. Makarani then made a detailed presentation on the RTE and SSA. He further pointed out that while these may be excellent laws and schemes, their proper implementation will not happen unless they are monitored by the local people. Hence, the SSA had put in place a body called the Village Education Committee (VEC) that is responsible for education at the village level. The RTE Act has now made it compulsory that every school should have a School Management Committee (SMC) that is responsible for the monitoring and development of the local school. Seventy five percent members of the SMC should be parents or guardians of the children, while the other twenty five percent is to be made up of teachers and local authority members. This body is expected to play a critical role in furthering education in the villages.

Finally, a film on the SSA was screened, after which Fr. James Tuscano proposed the vote of thanks.

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