Column : Fix the education bureaucracy first
Here is the problem. The current planning and budgeting system for elementary education is designed to centralise rather than decentralise school functioning. And, in so doing, serves to dis-empower SMCs. When it comes to crucial activities related to school management—hiring/ firing teachers, building infrastructure, determining the nature and quantum of teaching material needed—it is the state bureaucracy and not the SMC that controls the purse strings and decision-making powers. Break down the elementary education budget and you’ll find that SMCs have expenditure authority over a tiny set of school grants that account for somewhere between 5-6% of the annual education budget. Consequently, even if an SMC were to take decisions for the school, it is left to the state bureaucracy to approve and implement these decisions.
Last year, I discovered how this works when
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