Education policy to have input of parents

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The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is all set to give a role to parents of government school students in formulation of education policy and making decisions about other related matters, officials said.

Currently those at the helm of affairs, including the legislators and high-ups of different departments, are devising the education policy and roadmap for students of the poor segment of society who are enrolled in the government schools. However, they avoid government schools and admit their own children to private schools.

A work plan has already been finalised to provide opportunities to the parents to have a say in decision-making and formulation of policies concerning education of their children enrolled in government schools, said officials in the provincial Elementary and Secondary Education Department.

In this connection, a provincial level forum would be constituted comprising parents, representatives of the directorate and secretariat of education department, media and legal fraternity. They said that the forum would be involved in all important decisions of the education department.

The process of election of members of the provincial forum would commence from the parent teacher council (PTC) on each school level. Each PTC on school level consists of eight members, including four elected parents of the enrolled students, one each local elected representative, retire government official, influential of the area and one of the teachers of the respective school.

Excluding teachers from the PTCs, rest of the elected members would elect one of their representatives for another forum on the circle level. Each district is administratively divided in different circles having 60 to 70 schools. Similarly, the forum on circle level would elect their representatives for a district level forum. The forums of 25 districts would elect their representatives on provincial level.

To execute the plan, the education department would soon start it as a pilot project in one of the circles of Swabi district, said the officials, adding that after one year it would be expanded to the Swabi district and later to other districts of the province.

The parents’ forums on circle and district levels would be able to raise problems faced by their children in schools with the district education officers and provincial government.

Presently, the parents could only utilise the PTC funds on repair and electrification of schools and construction of additional classrooms. The parents who are poor and send their children to the government schools from primary to intermediate level would be able to correct the direction of the education policy.

In the existing setup, the parents couldn’t raise any issue in the schools with the principals and district education officers, as they had not been empowered to do so. However, after the establishment of parents’ forums on circle, district and provincial levels, they will have the support to raise problems faced by their children and point out flaws in policies concerning education policy and decisions on high forums.

The officials said that the parents forum would bring about a positive change in policy-making process, as currently the authorities mostly sending their own children to private schools could not do justice with their job to bring about improvement in the education system for government schools.

Dawn News