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Extensive literature research has resulted in identifying the following rationales that explain the importance of community participation in education.
• Maximizing Limited Resources
• Developing Relevant Curriculum and Learning Materials
• Identifying and Addressing Problems
• Promoting Girls’ Education
• Creating and Nourishing Community-School Partnerships
• Realizing Democracy
• Increasing Accountability
• Ensuring Sustainability
• Improving Home Environment
Review of Legal Frame work of SDMC’s
Article 21A Right to Education (Part  III  Fundamental Rights), The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine (Inserted by the 86th Amendment in December, 2002, but yet to be brought into force.).
Article 45 (Part IV Directive Principles of State Policy).provides for Provision for free and compulsory education for children  (Amended Text as per the 86th Amendment of December, 2002, but yet to be brought into force) 
Article 243G in Part IX  read with Eleventh Schedule*  of the constitution indicates that Education is one area in which decentralized self governance should be established in the respective villages through Gram Panchayath’s.
Right to Education Bill, 2005 (Draft Bill 25-08-2005).Which is awaiting its tabling in Lok Sabha provides a detailed provisions on the Responsibility of Local Authorities**  as well as School Management Committees***  regarding roles and functions to be played in matters of elementary education.
  *Added by the Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992, (w.e.f. 24-4-1993).
  **Chapter III- Responsibility of the State, Section-12 of Right to Education Bill 2005, Draft 25-08-2005.
  ***Chapter IV-Schools and Teachers, Section-22 of Right to Education Bill 2005, Draft 25-08-2005.
Responsibility of Local Authorities
(1) Subject to the responsibility of the appropriate Government as laid down in Section 10, the Local Authority shall, if empowered by a law enacted in pursuance of Article 243G or Article 243W of the Constitution, perform the following functions:-
i) Maintain the record of all children in its area, who are in the age group of 0-14 years, with special reference to children belonging to each disadvantaged group, and to weaker sections, in such manner as may be prescribed,
ii) Ensure that every child in the age group of 6-14 years residing within its jurisdiction is enrolled in an elementary school, participates in it, and is enabled to complete elementary education,
iii) Plan, budget and provide for additional schools, teachers, and other facilities that may be required as a result of the gaps identified through the school mapping exercise for ensuring free and compulsory elementary education,
iv) Monitor the provisioning of prescribed infrastructure, teachers and supporting facilities for free and compulsory education in all schools in its area imparting elementary education,
v) Ensure sustained education of children of migrant families through special steps, including bridge courses, remedial teaching, and such other interventions as may be required.
(2) To the extent the above functions have not been devolved upon local authorities by law, the appropriate government will by rules determine the authorities at various levels, which will perform the above functions till such time as such functions are assigned by law.

School Management Committees
(1) A School Management Committee (SMC) shall be constituted for every State school and aided school, with such representation of parents, teachers, the community and representatives of the local authority, as may be prescribed.
(2) Composition of the School Management Committee shall be so prescribed that:
i) At least three-fourths of its members are parents/guardians of children studying in the school, with proportionate representation among them of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other socially and educationally backward classes;
ii) The remaining members are drawn from other stakeholder sections of the community including representatives of the local authority, teachers, and persons/bodies working for education.
 (3) Physical assets of every State school, including its building, appurtenant land and fixtures, and all equipment and furniture, etc., shall be transferred by the concerned Government/local authority to the SMC within three months of its constitution under this Act, subject to such terms, conditions and restrictions, and in such manner, as may be prescribed.
(4) The SMC shall perform the following functions, namely:
(i) monitor and oversee the working of the school, and plan and facilitate its development;
(ii) manage the assets of the school;
(iii) ensure that teachers of the school diligently perform the duties prescribed for them under Section 26;
(iv) disburse salary to teachers from the grants received for the purpose from the appropriate government/local authority, and to deduct payment of salary for the period of unauthorized absence, if any, in such manner as decided by the SMC;
(v) utilise other grants received from the appropriate government, local authority or any other source for the upkeep and development of the school, in accordance with the terms of such grant and the rules made in that behalf; and,
iii) (vi) such other functions as may be prescribed by or under this Act.
(5) All moneys received by a School Management Committee for the discharge of its functions under this Act, shall be kept in a separate account, and shall be utilized in such manner as may be prescribed.
(6) Accounts of money received and spent by the SMC shall be maintained and audited in such manner as may be prescribed.
Both the above provisions relating to the roles, and responsibilities of the Local authorities and School Management Committees are complementing the powers and functions of each other. The concern at this juncture is to see that they should not act like a parallel  bodies, instead they should have strong positive coupling effects in the educational decentralization process. In this context SDMC’s in Karnataka  are unique and distinct in their composition and structure. It has been a very important offshoot and an integral part of the Gram Panchayath Structure itself. The SDMC’s have directly derived their roles and functions from the Karnataka Panchayath Raj Act of 1993. Hence the issue of supplementary nature of the School Management Committees have been ruled out instead it has gained complementing nature with Local Panchayath, providing less scope and space for the conflict between the two very important institutions at the Village level.  
In Karnataka Every Panchayath has been stipulated to have following committees according to The Karnataka Panchayath Raj Act of 1993 such as  as,
(i) Production Committee
(ii) a Social Justice Committee
(iii) an Civic Amenities Committee(CAC) to perform functions in respect of education, public health, public works and other functions of the Grama Panchayath. 

To give weight age to the above legal framework, The Karnataka Panchayath Raj Act of  1993 provided a significant provision  for the formation of SDMC’s by an Executive Order. This Executive order paved way for replacing the earlier model of Village Education Committees to bring about “ qualitative change” and also to affirm the role of the community in school education and administration in the State. The SDMC circular specifying the composition, objectives, duties, responsibilities, and procedures was disseminated to all the schools. Accordingly, every school now has a School Development and Monitoring Committee equipped with clear-cut powers in every school.  
An evaluation study in 2004 conducted by the Policy Planning Unit, DSERT, in collaboration with Centre for Child and the National Law School of India University found following with respect to SDMCs.
_ 85 per cent of the parents rated the functioning of SDMCs as good;
_ 83 per cent of the parents attend meetings every month;
_ 30 per cent of the teachers said that SDMCs have been effective in carrying out improvements to schools through collective participation;
_ According to 28 per cent of the parents, the SDMC has a positive impact on retention, attendance and enrolment;
_ around 30 per cent of the parents said that SDMCs have improved the functioning of the midday meal scheme;
_ 79 per cent of the students reported that SDMC members visit schools regularly;
_ 87 per cent of the students reported that SDMC members visit classes, verify whether teachers conduct classes and randomly test some of the learning competencies; and
Contributed by SDMCs (2002-03):
_ 38 per cent have contributed towards land and buildings;
_ 26 per cent have provided teaching learning materials (TLMs); and
_ 19 per cent have contributed cash.

In the DISE Survey there are questions in the schedule about the number of meetings with SDMC members but not about their perception about the teaching quality and overall quality of the school. The opinions of the SDMC members may also be useful to get feedback about the quality of teaching in the schools*.

The research design is laid so that it gives blue print of the activities to be performed. The broader understanding of the activities’ to be carried out. The current study is descriptive in nature. The methodology employed for the study will a combination of the qualitative and quantitative approaches. The primary data from schools will be collected through interviews with all stakeholders of SDMC’s in the community. Relevant information is also collected from government officials in the form of direct citations from people’s perceptions of their experiences, opinions, feelings and knowledge regarding SDMC’s. Secondary data is collected and collated from school records and observations and through a full range of interpersonal interaction and organizational processes.

The approach may combine house hold surveys in the Lambani communities, Focused group discussions in the community and analysis of the secondary sources of data available in the schools and education departments.

2.2. a. Sampling
The Thandas which are the Sample for the Study will be selected based on Stratified Purposive sampling method**. The criteria for the selection of the districts is based on the Total literacy rate of the district during 2001, two districts will be selected whose literacy rate is above state average and other two district will be selected whose literacy rate is below the state average. Hence, Four Districts have been selected for the present study; these districts have been selected based on the Total literacy rate for the State of Karnataka during 2001. The Total Literacy rate of Karnataka was 66.64% , here two districts will be selected which have higher literacy rate than the State average viz,. Shimoga( 74.52%) and Davanagere (67.43%). Similarly other two districts will be selected where the literacy rate is below the State average viz,. Chitradurga ( 64.45%) and Bellary (57.40%). 

  *Recommendations from page 39-40, adopted from “Post Enumeration Survey of DISE Data- Major Findings: 2007-08” . NUEPA.New Delhi.
   **Illustrates characteristics of particular subgroups of interest; facilitates comparisons. Adopted from  Patton (1990), he  proposed 16 cases of purposive sampling.

2.2. b. Sampling Frame
Totally 16 tandas will be selected for the present study from each district 4 tandas will be selected and study will be carried out.
2.2.c.Target Groups for Study
SDMC members:
Parent Council: President, Woman member, Male Member (SC/ST). (Total 3)
Ex-Officio member: Gram Panchyath Member, Head Teacher, Health Worker/NGO representative. (Total 3)
Nominated members: Donor,  Male/Female Student. (Total 2)

Non SDMC members: Teacher 1, Student 1, Parent 1, Community Representative 1 (Total 4)

Government Officials: BEO, BRC, Block Resource Person, Education Coordinator, Clusture Resource Person (Total 5)

For the purpose of data collection, present study will focus on the several methods to collect data. For this, a Questionnaire, Schedule and Opinionnaire can be developed enlisting all the details which are relevant to know during the study.   The tools are prepared keeping in view of the objectives of the study. The validation of the tools will be carried out by the feedback and suggestions from the research guide and other experts. The tools will be designed to collect both quantitative and qualitative information on community linkages, socio-economic status of SDMC members, and on awareness, participation and empowerment. 
Following tools are tentatively selected for this purpose.
a. Interview schedules
b. Questionnaire
c. Opinionnaire

2.4. a. Primary sources of data:
The primary sources of the data collection is from the communities and the schools it self. Also interaction with the government officials in the education department and other development functionaries in the village for this purpose following methods will be employed.
a) Surveys
b) Interviews
c) Focus group discussions with field functionaries
d) Field notes
2.4. b.Secondary sources of Data:
a) Official records like SDMC circulars, schools records, all other relevant circulars on UEE issued by the state government from time to time
b) Government documents like all annual reports,EMIS and Government publications
c) Committee reports like Task Force Committee Report on Education, High Power Committee on Regional Imbalance, Administrative Reforms Committee and so on.
d) Documents collected during the visit to Directorate of School education.
Both the qualitative and quantitative data are collected on the aspects enumerated above in the Methodology and Sampling procedure. The suitable statistical analysis is carried out based on the convenience and nature of data collected. 
The expected outcomes of the current study are as following.
* The research will bring a comprehensive understanding about the role and functioning of the SDMC’s in the Lambani tandas of Karnataka. 
* It will bring the good practices followed in the SDMC’s in the Lambani tandas which could be replicated in the similar settings in SSA operational areas.
* The study will make the comparison of SDMC functioning in district with low literacy and high literacy rate so as to help in comparing the gaps in the two settings.
* The study will bring the opinions of the stakeholders from the community which will bring about effectiveness and need of such SDMC’s in these Scheduled caste villages
The current study will have following implications
* The research will become a reference material for the ministry of HRD, institutions which need to explore on the good practices of SDMC’s in Scheduled caste villages of Lambani tandas.  
* The research will become good reference material for understanding the functioning of SDMC’s in state of Karnataka.
* The current study will start a policy dialogue and conversation among the policy makers, research institutions and different stake holders who are interested in the welfare of the  communities such as Lamanis who have been facing the complex educational challenges.
* The good practices which will come out of this study will be used as reference source by Karnataka state government and other interested organizations and institutions working for the betterment of Lambani communities in India.


Bjork, Christopher. 2003. Local Responses to Decentralization Policy in Indonesia. Comparative Education Review 47(2): 184-216.

Bray M.(2001). Community Partnerships in Education-Dimensions, Variations and implications. Paris. UNESCO.

Govinda R & Diwan R (2003)(Ed). Community Participation and Empowerment in Primary Education. New Delhi. Sage Publications.

Herrera, L (2008). Educational Empire: Democratic reform in the Arab World ?. International Journal of Educational Reforms, Vol 17, No.4/Fall 2008. 355- 374.

Menon P.(1998). Functioning of Village Education Committees: A Study of Selected VECs in Haryana.New Delhi.NIEPA.

Osborne ,D .,& T.Gaebler (1993). Reinventing government; How the entrepreneurial spirit is transforming the public sectors. New York.Pluma.

Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Singh.N.K (Ed)(2006). GlobaL Encyclopaedia of the South Indian Dalith’s Ethnography.Vol 2. New Delhi. Global Vision Publishing House.

Reports and Government Documents:

Circular, Karnataka Government Public Education Department Commissioner office Dated 13/06/2001 Regarding the SDMCs

Human Development in Karnataka.2005.GOK

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(2008).Framework for implementation. MHRD

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-Karnataka. Annual report 2007-08. GOK

Webliography: retrieved on 13-07-2009 retrieved on 11-07-2009

Posted on August 6, 2009----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------