Community participation flourishes education system
Samagra Shiksha, Nagaland
While the education system faced challenges in the recent years with strikes, delay in supply of materials, the all too familiar scenario of proxy teachers; in the midst of it all the community in Phek proves that with strong community partnership, the education system can flourish to its full potential. This was evident when a team of officials from Samagra Shiksha , School Education Department headed by Mission Director, embarked on an inspection tour.
The Communitization Act 2002 was launched with the vision that with community participation, sectors such as education, health care etc would experience development through accountable partnership. Sadly, in most cases the endeavor failed to translate into reality. However, there are some pockets in our society that stands tall in displaying the core of our culture- a community bond that promotes the welfare of the society.
Visiting the schools in Pfutsero and Zapami, the impact of community participation can be translated in its success. GHSS Pfutsero with classes from 6 till 12 and with an enrollment of a commendable 660 students, the school gleams in the façade of an admirable community support. And rightly so because the school would be the first Government school in the state with CCTVs in the classrooms, an equipped Atal tinkering lab, a modern computer lab with more than 25 computers projectors and other gadgets, sick room, reading room, clean toilet complex , drinking water facility, hand wash area with water from a rain water harvesting tank, organic vegetable and flower garden and more. All these facilities/amenities gives tough competition to the private schools in the area during admission time as most parents rush for admission to GHSS Pfutsero. These added facilities in the school are purely through community contribution and participation.
Ownership and accountability can be contagious and in Zapami, not very far from Pfutsero is a cosy village that reflects the same ideology. The additional 5 rooms of the lone GMS in the village were constructed solely by the community. In fact, the school even maintains a community supported teacher for the past 10 years to address the acute shortage of teachers and to add to their shared goal of quality education. Science practical classes are conducted by using simple equipment procured by the community to motivate and interest students in science subject.
A hostel for the school children of the GMS is also managed by the community as a way of extending quality intervention since most of the parents of the children are farmers and are not well read and do not have the ability or time to teach their children after school hours. Through the hostel, habits of hygiene and cleanliness, maintaining study hours and other etiquettes are taught. The Church sponsors the salary of the hostel warden and Village Council sponsors the salary of the cook, while the parents contribute firewood and rice. The enrolment in the GMs has since gone up. The school also organizes picnics, activities, ensures meals are provided to the students and even mobilized funds towards an exposure trip. The village community also shared their plans to construct assembly hall for the GMS through community mobilization.
The members of the community have undoubtedly managed to create a scholastic environment for the students that target a holistic approach to education.
It can be rightly stated that the success of a school is a social and communal endeavour. The community spirits in these schools are indicators that the state has the potential to meet the increasing pressures for greater community support towards academic outcomes. With a strong partnership and accountable community participation, success is only the next step.