In Raidih block of Gumla district in Jharkhand, communities are being engaged through Shikshan Gram Sabhas.
Shikshan Gram Sabha is a community process organized and conducted at school/village level. In this, all the community level stakeholders consisting of parents, School Management Committee representatives, Gram Panchayat representatives, women’s (Self Help) group representatives and teachers gather on a common platform and discuss school-related issues. School information collected from the school is shared by the Prajayatna facilitator in a pictorial format in a manner that can be easily understood by all. The school data presented sets the context for the local community to participate in the discussion about the school.
Various issues get clarified as all the stakeholders get an opportunity to meet face to face and discuss the issues collectively rather than discussing it at an individual level. During the discussions, shortcomings in the school are identified and responsibility to get it corrected is given to an (or more than one) individual who assures the participants of the meetings that they will get the issues resolved in a certain time frame.
A total of 15 such meetings were held in Raidih in the months of October, November and December in which a total of 504 participants took part.
Some of the issues that were raised in these meetings were concerned with children dropping out of schools, children not coming to schools regularly, the problem of non-availability of drinking water and problem of lack of electrification in schools.
For example, during the Shikshana Gram Sabha meeting held in New Primary School, Bijadand issues of irregular attendance of children, lack of electric supply and need for a boundary wall were raised. After open discussions in the meeting, it was decided that irregular children will be identified with the help of teachers and the issue will be discussed with their parents who will be requested to send them to school regularly. For electricity connection, it was decided that the School Management Committee will write to the concerned authority for providing the connection to the school. The school lacks a boundary and this not only makes conducting of classes difficult but also makes the school unsafe for children as they often run over to the road passing nearby. During the meeting, it was decided that SMC will erect a bamboo fence through volunteer labour of the community.