Community Action – Santhavadi, Mewat
Literacy is a measurable skill. It is one of the most important indicators of socio-economic development in societies. The Indian government formed Village Education Committees (VEC) to ensure that village education runs smoothly. Effective education programs are imperative to improving community literacy rates.
VECs are elected social bodies that run under district administration. They are responsible for looking into any education issues at the village level. The Sehgal Foundation works with VECs to improve their understanding of their rights and power.
The VEC for Santhavadi village, Mewat, Haryana demonstrates that timely action can solve problems. At a meeting on April 24th, 2008 the VEC discussed the village middle school’s student to teacher ratio of 300:1. They considered this rate alarming and unacceptable. The school had expanded to include the middle school level early in 2008, but still had only one permanent teacher. There were also three guest teachers, but it was unknown how often they actually taught at the school. At the time of the meeting, the permanent teacher was away working on a project not related to the school.
The Sarpanch (village council leader) and VEC members recognized the urgency of the situation. Along with the support of Sehgal Foundation, they began knocking of the doors of various authorities. They demanded that they take action to correct the school’s student to teacher ratio. The community appeared before the Assistant Block Coordinator to request more teachers. It was immediately decided that they would appoint two more guest teachers and one more permanent teacher.
The VEC of Santhavadi learned from this event that small interventions can lead to big impacts, when conducted on time. VECs can also effectively handle day-to-day issues of the local education system. The Sehgal Foundation will continue to work on educating VECs about the rights and power they have.
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