| Holding up half the sky |
Guwahati, July 18: Dispur has decided to involve women in a big way in effective management of education under the Right to Education Act.
This is evident from the latest rules approved by the Assam cabinet on July 5, which stipulate that a minimum of 50 per cent members of the school management committees to be constituted under the new act should be women.
The Right to Education Act upholds education as the fundamental right for each child between six to 14 years.
An Assam government official told The Telegraph that various surveys and studies done in recent times had found that women were better than their male counterparts in managing education, particularly at the primary school level. It has been found that women are more sincere, cool, sensitive, sensible and efficient than men in understanding children.
“Considering the fact that education is now compulsory and free for children between six to 14 years, we hope that accommodation of a minimum number of women in the school management committees is expected to ensure smooth implementation of the new legislation. The maximum number of women members in these committees could cross the 50 per cent mark. Women members can guide and inspire teachers on how to attract children towards education,” he said.
The official said the school management committees would play a crucial role in effective implementation of the Right to Education Act. These committees will be entrusted and empowered to take most of the important decisions in running the schools under the said act. A school management committee, which will be formed for each school, will be a permanent body of which the president and members shall have a term of three years.
Right from checking attendance registers of teachers and students and ensuing academic excellence, the school management committees will be involved in chalking out vision plans and implement these for futuristic growth of the schools.
According to the official, the importance of these committees can be gauged from the fact that the state government will open one lower primary school within 1km walking distance, an upper primary school every 3km and a high school every 5km.
Noted activist and writer Anima Guha said it was “very appropriate” that women were being involved in the implementation of the Right to Education Act. She said every woman is essentially a good teacher. “Women, being mothers, can understand and handle children between six to 14 years in imparting education and ensure that they come to school. I appreciate the state government’s move to give women more representation in the school management committees,” Guha said.
Retired vice-principal of Cotton College Nandita Bhattacharyya said women have a natural instinct to understand a child. She feels that at the primary school level, women make better teachers.
“There is a difference between running higher educational institutions and primary schools. I had seen that male members in the governing bodies of primary schools fail to understand the real issues and needs of these schools. I feel that women will play a crucial role in these committees under the new legislation,” a retired lower primary school teacher of Hajo in Kamrup district, Rahima Khatoon, said.
Principal of Cotton College Indra Kumar Bhattacharyya supported the move and said the government must stress on proper selection of women for such committees.