Education Initiative: 4 Districts get Higher Level School Councils

The Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan and Ilm Ideas have formed councils to represent government schools of four districts.

Date: July 15, 2014

Published in The Express Tribune on July 15, 2014

The Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan and Ilm Ideas have formed councils to represent government schools of four districts. The school council members elected the tehsil councils, who later elected members of the district-level councils in Jhelum, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin and Gujranwala.

The project aims to expand the role of school councils and to empower parents and communities as consumers of education services.

This was said at a seminar titled District and Tehsil School Councils: Strengthening Parental Voice at the Press Club on Monday. CRCP manager Mudassar Tahirkheli said the commission’s teams had visited 756 school councils in the four districts.

“During these visits, more than 5,000 school council members were mobilised. More than 200 meetings with government education officials were also held,” he said.

Tahirkheli said it was not a new concept. “Earlier, the councils only monitored the development funds.”

Tahirkheli said the commission believed school councils were capable of playing a more important role. “The challenge before us was to ensure capacity building of these school councils to increase the outreach of parents to district officials,” he said.

He said the absence of an aggregated parental voice had posed a major challenge to deal with education problems.

“We wanted to facilitate the flow of parental feedback to the officials at the tehsil and district level,” he said.

Tahirkheli said out of the 5,000 school council members, 2,300 were parents, 800 teachers and 1,969 locals.

“The school council members elected members of tehsil councils who later elected members of the district level council,” he said. Tahirkheli said the councils had forwarded 500 complaints to education authorities so far.

“113 complaints were addressed by district management. They dealt with issues of missing facilities, lack of furniture, teacher transfer and rationalisation,” he said.