Ravindra Kumar Mishra
(Former Chief Consultant, Min. of Education (formerly MHRD), GOI.
He can be reached at email@example.com)
The emphasis on school governance is a much-needed step to push cheers into the cheeks of our children. This cannot be merely a policy directive. The recently released new education policy speaks of school governance as one of its founding goals. A closer look at the recommendations renders it the intent of addressing obstacles in the path of efficacious school governance. The policy supports the promise of "minimum government, maximum governance."
The NEP envisions the impact on what children learn, at least for the next two decades, in school. This mandates that the effective and efficient use of resources, accountability, and participation by stakeholders as decision-makers is pivotal. The policy underlines the School Complex Management Committee (SCMC), consisting of all school heads, selected teachers, representatives of the local community, students, parents, etc. for more robust and improved governance, monitoring, support and innovations. The purpose of the SCMC is the decentralization of power to bring in improved and efficient governance of schools. These SCMCs are obliged to prepare a school complex development plan (SCDP) which will include human, learning, physical, financial resources, improvement initiatives, school culture initiatives, teacher development plans, and educational outcomes. This is a kind of autonomy to schools towards providing integrated and inclusive education, to experiment with pedagogies and curriculum in line with National and State Curriculum Frameworks.
A school's governance should be determined by its laws and bylaws and the decisions should be according to those provisions. It should be ensured that decisions are based on school needs which improve the school's overall performance. It is appropriate to flag that the success of every school depends on the way it is managed.
The school has several stakeholders in their activities. Their governance may, therefore, be done through a coalition of interests working together and performing different functions, all aimed at enabling the school to operate and to achieve its aims and objectives i.e. every child in school and every child learning.
Repeated school closure, due to the pandemic, based on the local considerations seems to be a new normal for a while. Simultaneously, it offered an opportunity for parental engagement and participation in the learning of children and enhanced digital governance into operation. This is certainly an edge to enable parents, community and stakeholders to participate through an online platform for strengthening the governance of the school. We must ensure that we do not lose this momentum of increased parental involvement. There is a good number of research and evidence which establishes that parental involvement helps in children's learning.
In early childhood education, the distinction between formal and informal learning is blurring and demands consultations, deliberations and discussion in the light of NEP that provides a pathway for informal learning in the school curriculum, for all-inclusive school governance. There is a lot to learn from the approaches of other countries also on how their school governance system makes education foolproof. It is thus critical that school governance does not emanate from an exclusion of any constituent that shall push the realization of a NEP's educational and social order further away from the foreseeable future. Attendance to achievement, learners and teachers, parents and community, stakeholders and visitors feel welcome when efficacious school governance works wonders.