People Based Statewide Advocacy for RTE

Latest  Event बेसिक शिक्षा मंच का राज्य स्तरीय कार्यक्रम 12-13 दिसम्बर 2014

Conception & Work of Basic Shiksha Manch as education coalition for statewide people based advocacy with Government & Political System.

State level advocacy for quality elementary education for all children of Uttar Pradesh started in 2006 with a convention of parents from 10 districts held in Lucknow. During State Assembly Election Campaign, idea of coalition of Basic Shiksha Manch emerged, while taking a collectively prepared Charter of Demand to contestants. More advocacy events on RTE Bill in 2008 and 2009 by inviting political parties, distinguished persons (Vinod Raina). Campaign during Parliamentary Election. Through BSM about 200 NGOs from about 60 districts have been mobilized. Four Issues of Bulletin (GUHAR) were published and presented to MLAs and Policy makers for reform in education system.

Basic Shiksha Manch (BSM) is a coalition for promoting right of all children to elementary education with quality and equity in the state of Uttar Pradesh (India). BSM is emerging as a broad based coalition in which deprived parents, whose children go to government schools, are represented in equal proportion. Other constituents of the coalition are NGOs, CSOs, academicians & individual activists.

BSM is also acting as plateform for sharing of knowledge for effective engagement with education system, at local and state level for practice and policy change. Spread the learning and issues emerging from direct engagement of Lokmitra, among NGOs, media, academicians and in government system for promoting suitable policy and practice changes.

BSM is emerging as a two-tier structure, at district level for keeping a watch on quality of education delivered and demanding better implementation and at state level for policy advocacy. LOKMITRA has been instrumental in promotion of BSM. A bottom-up approach is being pursued to evolve this coalition. Potential members of BSM are getting mobilized and oriented while getting involved in various activities and campaigns.

Effort of LOKMITRA, Basic Shiksha Manch and Parent Association has contributed to development with RTE Act. Subsequent advocacy for influencing the Model Rule gave a direct result in terms of being provisioned that a Parent would be chairperson of SMC. In draft Rule of UP it has been included that SMC will be formed in open meeting, as demanded by BSM.

In April 2010 a drive was initiated to promote awareness on RTE and it reached out to about 40 districts. During Panchayat Election voters were mobilized in about 3000 Gram Panchayats to take up the issue of educational right of children and that of democratic functioning of Panchayati Raj. This promoted awareness of contestants and voters on RTE and better LSG. In the month of November again a six point demand (enactment of Rules under RTE Act, better provision for SMC, proper formation of SMCs) was raised through about three Lakh signatures collected from parents of 60 districts. This effort culminated in two day Convention of BSM in which about 470 parents and NGOs participated from 47 districts of UP.

Progress in 2011-2012

On 1st anniversary of enactment of RTE Act on 1st April program could get organized in ten districts itself and to finally 40 districts by mid April.  “Haqiqat Banta Shiksha Ka Adhikar” had the Act and Model Rule in Hindi. It included documentation of work of Lokmitra with SMC & Parent Association. Poster, while highlighting the basic provision of RTE Act, highlighted the importance of SMC (depicting as Jinn Ka Chirag). About 105 NGOs participated in these programs. During this signature was again collected for Charter of Demand and taken to Party leaders at district and state level. Strategically demand was taken to key leaders of ruling political party. This must have contributed to enactment of Rules and GO for SMC.

Lokmitra staff and Parent Association members and a few NGOs associated with BSM participated in Dharna at New Delhi, being organized by National RtE Forum (as a part of National Stock Taking). Previous day, the presentation of Lokmitra work on SMC, gave an opportunity to share its practice to wider audience.

GO for SMC was made on 28th June. Within ten days of this, Lokmitra was ready with relevant material and a plan to build a conducive environment for proper formation of SMC. A letter was drafted, addressing teachers to consider SMC, not only for making them accountable, but also as an ally in long struggle to make education a main priority of government, provide sufficient budget. SMC can be very useful in local problem solving. Letter was shared with leaders of UP Primary Teachers Union and they agreed to send the letter to all District & Block office bearers. Same got done by 15th July. This letter along with copy of GO and process documentation of SMC formation meeting, was bundled in a booklet and printed for wider use by NGOs, Teachers & Officials. All liked them and many used them, govt had not provided any guideline as to how go about forming the SMC (apart from mentioning he provision of SMCs). This booklet was supplemented by two posters, depicting dialogue among parents and teachers, coming together in good relationship for promoting SMC. Key provisions of SMC were also depicted.

This effort was supplemented by 500 Booklets of UNICEF (Frequently Asked Questions) and same was distributed to about 300 NGOs, Union Leaders (State & District).

S. Material Name of Material Printed Copy Distributed District NGOs
1 Booklet Vidyalay Prabandha Samiti ke Gathan ke Samarthan Mein Basic Shiksha Manch ki Pahal 4500 4150 70 280
2 Poster Sabhi Ke Shikhne Ke Adhikar ko Badhata Shikshak Abhivak ka Sajha Prayas 3000 2900 70 280
3 Poster Shikshkak ke Sath Sajha Prayas Ke Liye Utshahit hote Abhibhavak. 2000 1700 50 280
4 Booklet Shiksha mein badloa ke liye Shikshak se Samvad. 2000 2000 70 280
5 Bulletin Basic shiksha mein badloa ke liye Janpahal 3000 3000 50 280
6 Booklet Sab padhe sab badhe ke adarsh ko kare sakar, Aiye jane bachochon ke shiksha ka adhikar. 5000 4000 50 280
7 Poster Shiksha samvad abhiyan posters 12000 11500 60 400
8 Folder Maango ka masauda 10000 9800 60 400

Following regional meetings were organized to make the momentum towards the formation of SMC.

Sr. Region/District  Participation Teacher Union Districts Media   Parents

F

M

Total

F

M

Total

1

Lucknow

9

14

23

6

9

&

4

2

6

2

Rae Bareli & CSM Nagar

2

8

10

8

2

&

2

5

7

3

Pratapgargh

2

15

17

3

1

2

6

6

4

Hamirpur

8

10

18

7

6

15

25

5

30

5

Bareli

9

3

12

3

3

4

10

4

14

6

Gorakhpur

2

14

16

5

7

Merath

4

11

15

4

8

Banaras

26

17

43

2

5

9

Allahabad

5

15

20

3

1

10

Faizabad

5

15

20

2

4

10

3

5

8

Total

72

122

194

31

42

32

44

27

71

There has been hurdle in SMC formation from an unexpected quarter. To our surprise, officials at state and district couldn’t ensure that GO for SMC formation (along with guideline) reach all schools. Even schools in Lucknow, close to state level office didn’t get GO in time. So SMC formation continued beyond stipulated time. In project area Parent Association and District BSM approached officials to ensure that SMC gets formed in time and in proper manner. Feedback from all over the state is that only in few places SMCs got formed properly. In many places it was formed on paper, with selected parents, not even being aware of their membership. In such instances, near ones have become members and chairpersons. Authorities are generally taking blind eye to this and just hoping that things will improve after two years when SMCs get reformed. Lokmitra is trying to breast with this reality. One of the approach to minimize the damage is by mobilizing serious/genuine members, especially those from marginalized families, to collectivize at Cluster & Block level (as done under Parent Association). Idea of Parent Association is being taken to all NGOs with the aim that it emerges on most blocks of the state.

Demand for Training was received from a few NGOs and Mahila Samkhya and same was supported (Pratapgargh, Sitapur, Bareli etc). A team of AKF & ERS visited the project area.

BSM organised its Annual Sammelan during Child right week on 16-17 Nov. It was for assessing the ground reality and do the advocacy (focus has been on SMC and Out of School Children). An advocacy Bullettin was released. Despite a large gathering of 264 persons from 52 districts & 108 CSOs, there was enough scope for social workers and parents (SMC Members) to come to dias and share their experiences and plan.

Soon after the annoucement of Assembly Election, BSM in association with SCoRE and RTE Forum organized planning meeting on 31st Dec at Gomti Hotel Lucknow. Plan for the Campaign was discussed and material got finalized. state level Campaign was launched on 9th January with Charter of Demand and Shiksha Samvad Poster. 7 Regional Meetings have taken place, reaching out to 50 Districts. In various places memorandum has been presented to election campaign by senior politicians.

Date Place No of Districts involved

No of NGOs Involved

Participants

Teachers union Trade unions & others Rep of political parties
21-1-2012 Basti 8 30 50 3 1 2
22-1-2012 Varanasi 6 10 50 3 0 2
23-1-2012 Gorakhpur 5 21 28 2 0 2
30-1-2012 Lucknow 15 20 35 0 2 1
6-2-2012 Urai 9 26 43 1 1 3
12-2-2012 Aligarh 1 2 6
14-2-2012 Muradabad 6 14 34
Total 7 50 123 246 9 4 9

In Feb a meeting was held with the participation of 14 NGOs associated with BSM at Raebareli. The experience of SMCs meetings was discussed and accordingly training Program was planned for NGOs Staffs and SMCs members.

In March in five districts trainings/meeting were organised/attended in which 230 workers of about 150 NGOs participated along with 623 SMC members. Districts are Kanpur, Kushinagar, Shravasti, Gorakhpur, Fatehpur & Hamirpur.

Progress in 2012-2013

As has been suggested & demanded by Lokmitra & BSM, sate government issued a letter in June 2012 for better start of School Session with provision of preparatory meeting with SMC before the start of school. School timing was reverted back to original position (during BSP govt there was two shift timing).

There has been another major outcome of advocacy effort in March 2013 for better start of school session as state government issued letter on 18th March 2013 for Enrolment and Survey of OoSC in May & June. With the help of one ex Chief Minister, Chief Secretary was approached and he issued the order to initiate enrolment and HH survey in May itself so that when school reopens in 1st July for new session, teachers’ time doesn’t get wasted in non teaching work and all eligible children start start attending school from very first day. This was being suggested for last few years and this year this demand was again made along with demand for initiating the process for proper reconstitution of SMC.

During election for Urban Bodies in June/July, a BSM initiated effort to sensitise contestants through parents and CSO over educational issues. A Consultation meeting was organised on 11th June 2012 in Lucknow in which 17 NGOs from 13 districts participated. A Charter of Demand was prepared. Follow-up District level Shiksha Samvad was organised in five districts in which about 40 contestants participated. Campaign further progressed in 13 other districts, reaching out to about 900 contestants. Charter of Demand, signed by about 60,000 voters, was presented to contestants. About 187 NGOs were involved in the effort.

In about 25 districts District Level Shiksha Samvad was organised to involve CSOs and SMCs in monitoring of RTE implementation and advocacy. Three programs were organised (2 in Raebareli & 1 in Amethi) with participation of 248 persons. BSA participated in Amethi. Teacher Union participated in all programs. SMC members expressed themselves so as to influence officials, teachers, people’s representatives and contestants.

District level Basic Shiksha Manch    meeting was organised in 35 districts with the participation of 1027 persons (women 321) from 394 NGOs and 98 SMC members. This assisted in participation of NGOs in SMC training under SSA. PRI members, lawyers and Teacher Union participated in many places. District level collective effort got strengthened. Collective demand has been made with local officials. Jan Pahal Bulletin was used in advocacy effort.

Capacity Building of NGOs was undertaken through 10 Regional meetings with participation of 264 persons (women 40) from 145 NGOs. RTE Act, CB of SMC, Parent Association, campaign during ULB election etc was covered. About 4,000 SMC members in the areas of CSOs associated with BSM were oriented in RTE & SMC.

Second issue of JanPahal Bulletin was released on 1st December in Lucknow in presence of SMC members & a few NGO representatives. During the program, some women members of SMCs showed their spark with their understanding and drive. This is sufficient enough for us to continue to invest in them and strengthen the basis of larger change. This Bulletin has taken place of Guhar Bulletin that was getting published in pre-RTE period. Lokmitra brings it out on behalf of Basic Shiksha Manch for promoting systemic change in education and thus ensuring right of each child to quality education. This Bulletin does the critical review of initiatives of government, highlights critical areas and suggests changes. Bulletin also show-cases the effort of CSOs. This forty page Bulletin was taken to Government functionaries, Education Department and People’s Representatives through delegation and through Shiksha Samvad in various districts.

As a part of effort to ensure proper formation of SMC and give forth coming school session a better start, effort initiated since December 2012, culminated with State level Convention of BSM, organised in March with participation of 215 persons (women 40) from 32 districts. Ex Chief Minister Mr. ND Tiwari came and supported the advocacy agenda of BSM. Delegation met education secretary and Minister. Apart from demand for modification in Rules of SMC, demand for improving the school supervision practices and focus on SMC during school visit was also made. About 120 NGOs got ready for advance preparation for ensuring that SMC gets formed in proper manner. Later delegation met Education Minister, Education Secretary. Parent Association actively participated in advocacy effort. On 16th March Chief Secretary sent a GO that indicated that half of the demand for better start of school session was met by the govt.

In between successful effort was made to meet Education Secretary, Education Minister and proposal for needful governmental action was shared and explained. Effort was made to mobilise other key political persons from ruling political parties and other influential persons.

There has been some collaboration with SSA at District and local level as many of Lokmitra functionaries became trainer for SMC and volunteers in Shiksha ka Haq Abhiyan. Many other CSOs were encouraged to to get involved in similar manner and many did and used the opportunity to influence.