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Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 – Suggestions from LOKMITRA

Chapter 1: Early Childhood Care and Education: The Foundation of learning
P1.2. Significant expansion and strengthening of facilities for early childhood
education:
P1.2.c. Suggestion. One Year of Pre-Primary initiated in all Primary Schools for children of age 5 to 6 years. School teachers can give more attention as this being their full-time responsibility. Further, they are expected to be better educated / professionally trained and teachers. This will give another advantage that teachers will not blame Anganwadi for the poor quality of PrePrimary education. Anganwadi workers can continue to provide Two Year Pre Primary to children of age 3 to 5 years.
Currently, Anganwadi workers are too burdened with several tasks and have limited education qualification. School teachers can give more attention to the early education of children.

Chapter 2: Foundational Literacy and Numeracy
P2.11. School preparation module for all Grade 1 students:
It is insufficient. This will not be required if One Year of Pre Primary is initiated in all Primary Schools for children of age 5 to 6 years.
In Uttar Pradesh, Education Department (Elementary Education Board) gives Teachers month-wise division of curriculum (distribution of teachers) that teachers have to follow. This negates the learning need and different learning pace of children.
School textbook for Grade 1 itself needs major revision to address the challenge of learning crisis.
This also reflects on the capacity of SCERT. So a major focus needs to be given to improve the capacity of SCERT and give it leadership overall academic matter (presently getting divided with Basic Shiksha Parishad).

P2.5. & P2.6. The major reason for the learning crisis is faulty teaching practices of teachers in Grade 1 & 2. Without addressing this issue, the problem will continue to persist. Tutors & Volunteers are more likely to follow the traditional practices of their teachers.
So higher emphasis be given to enhancing the capacity of existing teachers. Only then they can take academic leadership to Tutors & Volunteers.

P2.8. Management of the NTP and RIAP programs will take too much time of teachers and it will also give teachers an excuse for not taking direct responsibility.

Chapter 3: Reintegrating dropouts and Ensuring Universal Access to Education
P3.3. Supporting hostel facilities: There should be provision for Seasonal Hostel for children seasonally migrating to worksite along with parents (especially to Brick Kilns as molders).

P3.7 Tracking out-of-school children: Instead of Database of all only dropouts and out-of-school children, it should be for all children. This database needs to be updated annually. There is a major issue of the gap in finding out of school children. So this responsibility be given to Local Bodies (Gram Panchayat, Municipalities) and be implemented in partnership with some other government department or private agencies. Social Worker can update this database and take up other roles as mentioned in NEP.
Under section 9 of the RTE Act, 2009 role of Local Authority (as defined under Section 2 (h)) duties of “Local Authority” includes following.
d) Maintain records of children up to the age of fourteen years residing within its jurisdiction, in such manner as may be prescribed
e) Ensure and monitor admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by every child residing within its jurisdiction.
So it is suggested that keeping in the provision of RTE Act and spirit of promoting local governance, Local Authority (mostly Gram Panchayat and Urban Bodies) be made responsible for maintaining of records of children up to the age of 18 years with detail of current status of education and other information relating to same (e.g. migration, CWSN, etc).
Most Gram Panchayats already maintain Family Register. Its format needs to be revised to include additional data and updating of data every six months should be made compulsory. All such data be updated online and be available to the public as well.

Chapter 7: Efficient Resourcing and Effective Governance through School Complexes
P7.7.1. School Management Committees as a mechanism for community support and supervision:
Majority of members in SMC should be parents, at least two-third or three-fourth. Half of the parents be a mother.
There is no need to have three teachers as members. Just Head Teacher will do as secretary of SMC.

Chairperson & Vice Chairperson should be elected from among parent members.

Instead of adding an ex-student as a member, (some of the parents will be ex-students) there should be a provision of School Children Forum and SMC listening to opinions of representatives of School Children Forum in its meetings.

P7.7.2. Enabling the School Management Committees to function effectively:
To improve the functioning and effectiveness of the SMCs, it is most important to ensure that SMCs are periodically reconstituted democratically, in a large assembly of Parents, with equal representation from each Grade.
A major challenge wrt to SMC is lack of proper formation of SMC. Teachers haven’t been properly oriented on the overall benefit of SMC and involvement of parent and community. SMC gets formed in an undemocratic manner in a hurriedly called meeting of parents, with little participation of parents. Quite often, SMCs are formed by teachers (without following the norms) in a manner that it remains a rubber stamp. Even Block and District officials are not series about it. Including District Magistrate. It seems no one in the system wants to empower SMCs.
So Local Body should be given the responsibility of forming SMC as per state RTE Rules. Moreover, there should an Education committee in Local Bodies. Chairperson of SMCs should become a member of Local Body Education committees.
Moreover, SMCs should be empowered by having a federation of SMCs at Block and District level. Only then parents in SMCs will get truly empowered to raise lacunas in the functioning of school and gaps in the system, implementation. Otherwise, parents and children get harassed by officials/schools/teachers for raising any issue.
Periodic meeting of BEO & DEO with SMC federation will provide an opportunity to BEOs and DEOs to get feedback from SMCs and SCMCs in their geography.

P7.5.3 School Complex Management Committee:
SCMC should include members from Local Bodies and Urban Development Authorities (Chairperson or member from Municipality & Gram Panchayat). Plan for the physical development of school my feed into Plan of Local Body and Urban Development Authorities.

P7.5.4. Managing school complexes:
While recommending that there should be sufficient staff in School Complex to reduce the load of non-teaching tasks on teachers, there is no specific mention of support staff for Mid-Day Meal & Breakfast. Provision of staff to take care of Mid-Day Meal & Breakfast be specifically mentioned. The same person can support Kitchen Garden, School Health Program, and Cleanliness & Sanitation as well.

P7.6.3. District Education Council — Zilla Shiksha Parishad:
Making the Collector/District Magistrate will chair the DEC is not a good idea. Experience in this regard is not so positive. This is mainly because District Magistrates have to head too many Committees and do many other works who are in high priority. As a result, meetings get delayed, hurriedly called, just for namesake. Moreover quite often District Magistrates get school teachers engaged in non-teaching duty like pre-election voter awareness, supervision of many other development activities, etc.
So the suggestion is that instead of District Magistrates, the responsibility of Chairmanship of District Education Council is given to DIET (District Institute of Education and Training) Principle or Chief Development Officer.
District Magistrates themselves are at fault for engaging teachers for non-teaching tasks.

P7.7.4. Addressing School Management Committee issues and grievances:
A major challenge wrt to SMC is lack of proper formation of SMC. Teachers haven’t been properly oriented on the overall benefit of SMC and involvement of parent and community. SMC gets formed in an undemocratic manner in a hurriedly called meeting of parents, with little participation of parents. Quite often, SMCs are formed by teachers (without following the norms) in a manner that it remains a rubber stamp. Even Block and District officials are not series about it. Including District Magistrate. It seems no one in the system wants to empower SMCs.
SO Local Body should be given the responsibility of forming SMC as per state RTE Rules. Moreover, there should an Education committee in Local Bodies. Chairperson of SMCs should become a member of Local Body Education committees.
Moreover, SMCs should be empowered by having federation SMC at Block and District level. Only then parents in SMCs will get truly empowered to raise lacunas in the functioning of school and gaps in the system, implementation. Otherwise, parents and children get harassed by officials/schools/teachers for raising any issue.
Periodic meeting of BEO & DEO with SMC federation will provide an opportunity to BEOs and DEOs to get feedback from SMCs and SCMCs in their geography.

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