CHENNAI: In order to make school grants and subsidy system more transparent, the Tamil Nadu School Education Department is planning to add students in school fund monitoring panels.
Once implemented, the student representatives would get to scrutinise the grants given by the government to improve facilities in their schools and monitor its spending.
Every academic year, Sarva Siksha Abhyan (SSA) gives funds through grants and subsidies to meet the learning and teaching needs of government-funded schools.
School monitoring committees (SMCs) are set up in all these institutions and are headed by the school headmasters. The committee’s nod is mandatory to withdraw the assigned funds.
The committee meets in the fourth week of each month to discuss how the funds are going to be used.
While three-fourth of the funds is used to introduce new facilities on campus and implement new teaching methodologies for students from Class I to VIII in the school, the remaining is to maintain existing facilities and for repairs.
At present, the committee has representatives from teachers, local administration, village-level education committee (VEC) and parents from economically weaker sections. Soon selected students from various levels would join this committee.
Under this new approach, students can get to know how much the government is spending on their education and questions misuse of allocated funds.
The school education department has welcomed this initiative from the State SSA. The department says that the chances of misusing grants and subsidies may reduce.
A senior education official said, “The department received several complaints on siphoning of government funds, as there was no transparency in the system. This new approach might put the funds to efficient use.”
The parents doubt if adding students in the committee will help as students’ opinions may not be considered seriously.
“The intention behind considering a student’s opinion to monitor funds allocation is fine. But the students are under the headmaster’s control and the students may be sidelined or targeted for questioning the HM’s decision”, said R Manimohan, of Students Parents’ Welfare Association.