Monday, July 03, 2006

Greater accountability through a school-based cadre of teachers

One of the key problems that many studies and surveys have (repeatedly) identified in our system of primary education (see here, here, here) is the lack of accountability that the teachers should be held to. The underlying reason is also fairly clear: control over how a public school functions is not with the people it serves, but with a bunch of bureaucrats at the district and state levels. Urmi Goswami of the Economic Times reports on a proposed move that could help make teachers more accountable:

The Centre’s Model Right to Education Bill, ‘06, which will have to be adopted by all states, has made it mandatory for all government-run schools to move to a system of school-based cadres. Besides curbing absenteeism, this provision of the Bill is expected to deal with politicisation of teacher transfers.

A school-based cadre would mean that teachers would be appointed by the school as per its requirements, and that these teachers will not be able to seek transfers to another school. A school-based cadre would mean that school authorities and the local community which is involved in the school management committee would have greater control on the teacher.

This would mean that teachers would be accountable to the school and community and not to a faraway authority. At present, state or district authorities recruit regular teachers and place them in schools without regard for specific needs of any institution.