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Community Managed Schools in Nepal are performing better

Posted On: March 3, 2016

Government of Nepal, together with partnership of various NGOs, has been forwarding the movement of community school with step of providing management responsibility of community schools to school management committee (SMC), to be elected from parents. Nepalese education system is in the phase of substantial transformation from centrally controlled school management to community based management with the philosophy of involving community in the management of school education system. It has been five years since the movement of community managed schools started in Nepal with the aim of making school level education more effective and efficient through participation of community and insurance of school good governance. This specific intervention faced series of obstacles and hurdles in its implementation process because of wide mass protest from teacher union and some political parties. However, the participation, support and feedback from primary stakeholders (i.e. parents, community and teachers) and successes brought about by the program in school indicators have been the cornerstone for the expansion and advocacy of the intervention from the point of view of the policy makers. The flow of correct information towards the real stakeholders from and with approach of institutionalized mechanisms has been one of the setbacks in the momentum of this intervention. The necessity was felt to mobilize nearest institutional mechanism of school i.e. resource center in CMS advocacy to accelerate the movement and enhance management capacity of community. The ultimate purpose of the intervention is to develop community managed school as a center of integrated learning that meets the learning needs of school age group of a community so that country will be able to meet EFA goals by 2015. This movement brought about by government awaits huge contribution from governmental sector, non-governmental sector and civil society in communicating correct message about CMS to real stakeholders of school. Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007 has included free and compulsory education under directive principles and state guidelines and also had demonstrated the commitment in devolving decision making power to local level through federal system of government. Article 11(tha) of Education Act 2028 (amended by Act to amend some Nepal act related to education and sports, 2063) had included the provision entitled “school management responsibility can be taken”. This act has clarified that local government or school management committee can take management responsibility of respective schools by signing formal agreement with District Education Office (DEO) after completion of specific process starting from application to DEO. Similarly, Chapter 5 (ka) of Education Regulation (third amendment) 2062 contains provision regarding management of community run schools. Those schools whose management responsibilities are transferred to community through these acts and laws are commonly taken as community managed schools. Education Regulation contains specific provisions related to process of taking management responsibility, facilities for community managed school, roles and responsibilities of school management committee of such schools, appointment of community teachers, teacher selection committee, promotion process etc. Both education act and regulations has made the provision of transferring management responsibility of schools to SMC elected from parents consisting of HT as member secretary and additional teacher representative in place. Government had brought specific guidelines for community managed schools under Education Action and Regulation entitled “Community school operation guidelines, 2059”. The guideline is already amended in 2063. This guideline has defined community managed school as schools which are operated by District development committee/ village development committee/ metropolitan city/ sub metropolitan city/ municipality or school management committee taking overall responsibility. Together with defining community managed schools, this guideline has described specific roles and responsibilities for SMC, HT and others in such schools. Observing sectoral legislation, Local Self Governance Act (LGSA), 2055 has given autonomous status to village development committee. Article 28 (d) of LSGA describes the role of VDC in school education as to establish pre-primary schools with own source, to give permission to establish them and to operate and manage the same. To supervise and manage the schools being operated within the village development area To assist in providing primary level education in mother tongue within the village development area.  To make arrangements for providing scholarships to the students of oppressed ethnic communities who are extremely backward on economic point of view. Thus, LSGA has tried to establish the pattern of decentralization of school education even through roles and responsibilities deputed for VDC. Currently, the form of school management being practiced more proactively is that by school management committee as management by local body suffered initial setbacks in earlier days due to weak results shown by schools under Banepa municipality. Government of Nepal has been implementing the intervention to transfer management of school to community with the aim of ensuring decentralization through Community school support project (2003-2006) and Education for All Program (2004-2009). CSSP (2003-2006) implemented with the aim of promoting community managed schools have stated three major goals i.e. enhancing participation of local community, ensuring quality of education, increasing efficiency and accountability of schools. To ensure fulfillment of these goals, CSSP brought the support package for the schools transferring management to community.

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