Primary education means education for children aged 6-10 years in Bangladesh according Government. According to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG), all children aged six years to attain free primary education or elementary training in all relevant curriculum areas decided by the concerned authority. Six years is considered the standard age for enrollment in Primary education. It is the basic necessity of a man. It is a foundation of modern society and also necessary for democratic government. In this modern world of science and commerce, it is necessary that every citizen should be able to take an intelligent and informed interest in what is going on all around. Primary education is the minimum education that provides the proper knowledge so that the citizen can exercise his voting right judiciously.
According to the article-17 of the constitution of Bangladesh (Free and compulsory education) The State shall adopt effective measures for the purpose of “establishing a uniform, mass oriented and universal system of education and extending free and compulsory education to all children to such stage as may be determined by law.” So primary education is free and compulsory in our country.
The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered. The system is highly subsidized. The government of our country operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels. It also subsidizes parts of the funding for many private schools in the country.
Government has achieved many successes during the past decade, major improvements are still needed in order for all children to receive the benefit of quality education. The major challenges include: poor quality of education; high drop out rates; promotion of equity and accessing education; decentralization of education administration; and special needs education.
Management is the process to coordinate the activities of others in order to achieve predetermined organizational goals. Management comprises of planning, organizing, staffing, directing, leading and controlling. It is the engagement of one or more people or entities for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. School management committees (SMCs) play a very important role in determining the goals and strategic plans of the schools. This ultimately helps to achieve high academic performance. School Management Committees also acquire both human and material resources. These resources are very vital aspects in teaching and learning activities. They also create a link between the local communities and the schools. They act as a bridge between them. Thus they are enhancing conducive atmosphere for learning (Dean, 1995). The SMCs help to enforce discipline in children and teachers which is a key factor to better academic performance.
1.2 Problem Statement:
In theory, SMC has total management control over primary schools in Bangladesh though the real picture is somewhat different. SMC creates a way so that local community members and parents can be an effective part of school management. During SMC meetings various problems facing the school can be discussed. Many problems related to community and institution can be resolved. The problem of their role on academic performance arises when PTA (Parent Teachers Association) and SMC meetings are irregular (Chaudhury et al., 2006). In that case, it is not possible to communicate the issues affecting performance as well as resolving problems like teacher absenteeism, drop out rate and many more. For Bangladesh, Ahmed and Nath (2005) found that SMCs were not able to exercise their authority in some special areas. It is noticed that SMCs often were made up of people without sufficient background in education management. They were elected owing to personal relationship with head teachers and elected local political leaders. Moreover, there is some dissatisfaction with the way of their functioning. In some instances, there are resources constrain to carry out their designated responsibilities. Sometimes they are dominated by head teachers and local political leaders.
The SMCs are not functional in remote and char areas. Moreover most of the SMC members are doing nothing to prevent drop out and increase enrolment. Most of the SMC members play negligible role in monitoring and supervision of school activities. A vast majority of local government representatives have little role to play as they are not members of SMC, but who are members of the SMC had not received any training on their role (Research, Training and Management (RTM) International Dhaka, UNICEF, 2009).
So, the research problem is what significant role the SMCs can play in the improvement of academic performance in Govt. primary schools of Bangladesh and whether they have really any significant role.
1.3 Objective of the Study:
Role of SMCs in schools’ performance is so crucial now than ever. The Constitutional provision of Bangladesh that “Free and compulsory education to all” has made it almost impossible for government to solely bear the responsibility of financing and managing education. Communities are, therefore, required to be involved if the present levels of quality are to be improved and SMC is a form of community involvement.
The basic objective or purpose of the study, therefore, is to explore the effects of community participation i.e. SMC on school performance.
In this regard, the study will focus on the following:
1. To assess the role of SMC on Govt. primary school’s performance in Bangladesh.
2. To determine the challenges faced by SMC on performing their role.
1.4 Research Questions:
To achieve the research objective, the following research question have been addressed:
• What role SMC plays in Govt. primary schools’ performance in Bangladesh ?
• What are the challenges faced by SMC on performing their role?
1.5 Significance of the Study:
Community participation has a very high potential on school’s performance. It has significance in generating community ownership of schools, democracy in school governance, and accountability of teachers, trust and overall performance of schools in various ways. Especially where the level of participation is high, the performance might be better. Thus the study would help highlight the current relationships that exist between schools and management communities in the area. Also, it would provide useful insights into the roles of SMCs and the challenges faced by SMCs in educational development in local rural level of Bangladesh. Moreover, the study would serve as basis for intervention programs to policy makers and stakeholders in education. Finally, conclusions and findings from the study will serve as a useful base for further research in the area. It will also enrich the existing literature in the area.
1.6 Scope of the Study:
The study will be confined in two SMCs in Dhamrai Upazilla under Dhaka district, in two SMCs in Dhunat Upazilla under Bogra district and two SMCs in Dhaka metropolitan city. Only Government primary school will be considered in these areas. SMCs Chairman, SMCs members, parents, Head Teachers, Assistant Teachers, Local Government members will be interviewed with different sets of questionnaire. Upazilla Chairman, Upazilla Nirbahi Officer, Upazilla Education Officer, local elite will also be interviewed with another set of questionnaire. The scope of the study is to get an idea about the current situation of the role of the SMCs.
The research will be covered the following important aspects of the role of the SMCs which include:
a) Educational and occupational status of SMC members.
b) Training of SMC members about their duties and role .
c) SMC meetings and attendance of SMC members in those meetings.
d) Teachers and students attendance in schools.
e) Child Survey and enrolment.
f) Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and mother assembly.
g) School level Improvement Plan (SLIP) and action plan for school development.
h) PSC (Primary School Completion) examination results.
i) Dropout Rate and primary education level completion rate.
j) Visit and Inspection by UEO and AUEO in his areas of concerned schools.
1.7 Limitations of the Study:
Like every research this study has some limitations. Because of time constraint only some selective SMCs of three Upazillas have covered for this study. Even only Government primary school is considered for the study. During interview the teachers/SMCs members may not respond spontaneously. Their apprehension was like their views might cause harm themselves and their senior officials such as Education Officials, Upazilla Nirbahi Officer (UNO) and public representatives. The study will be interviewed forty respondents from SMC members of six primary schools because of time constraint. Despite all the limitations the findings of the study will definitely help the policy makers to draw conclusion and suggest some policy options regarding the role of SMCs of primary schools. These will be immensely used for improving performance of primary schools in Bangladesh.
1.8 Methodological Overview:
The study will be undertaken only qualitative method combining of survey, case study and interview along with observation to accomplish the research objective.
Primary data will be generated from interviews of the SMCs Chairman, SMCs members, parents, Head Teachers, Assistant Teachers, Local Government members, Upazilla Chairman, Upazilla Nirblahi Officer, Upazilla Education Officer, local elite in the two Upazillas. Survey may be carried out to know the perceptions of SMCs role of the 20 respondents (students and parents) in different schools through a questionnaire and in-depth analysis. Respondents will be both male and female. For secondary data, books, research papers, articles, journals, websites be studied to review the existing literatures on primary education sector of Bangladesh.
1.9 Structure of the Research:
The present study is divided into seven main chapters.
Chapter One: Introduction- The first chapter contains Background of the Study, Statement of the Research Problem, Objectives and Significance of the study, Scopes and Limitations of the research, Research questions, and Methodology.
Chapter Two: Literature review- The second chapter deals with existing literatures on the role of SMCs in improving performance of primary schools in the context of Bangladesh and other parts of the world, the problems and policy of primary education sector and other literatures related to primary education sector in Bangladesh, The role of SMCs in primary schools of Bangladesh have been described..
Chapter Three: Research Methodology- The third chapter incorporates the discussion on the methodology, data collection tools and analyzing techniques.
Chapter Four: Theoretical and Analytical Framework- In this chapter concept of the theory used in this study is discussed. Also their relation has been shown through analytical framework and how to relate those using data in guidance of theoretical framework are shown in this chapter.
Chapter Five: Primary Education in Bangladesh- This chapter deals with importance of primary education, education structure in Bangladesh, different types of primary education in Bangladesh, Government initiative in primary education, Primary education development programme (PEDP) in Banbladesh etc.
Chapter Six: Data Presenation and Analysis- This chapter analyzes data collected from the study areas on what role School Management Committees (SMCs)) are playing in improving performance of primary schools.
Chapter Seven: Findings and Conclusion – This chapter discusses the important information from field survey and data analysis. Based on data analysis and discussion in previous chapters, this final chapter attempts to discuss the research findings and way forward with concluding remarks.
Education sector is very important for any country. Primary education is very important for Bangladesh, it is the basis of all future education. It will ensure a middle income country, it will also materialize the present Government target to make ‘Digital Bangladesh’ by 2021.
This chapter gives an idea of the research problem and discusses thoroughly why it is important to investigate. It also tries to provide the scope and limitations of the study. Finally, it gives an overview of the methodology used in this study and also the structure of the research.