The Chief Minister, Punjab, has made various interventions for poverty alleviation which is a core focus of the Government. One of the crucial interventions in this regard is the collective effort being made in the education sector. The Chief Minister is relentlessly perusing initiatives in the education sector encompassing access to education, core content of quality, attendance of teachers, their training and ability to teach, up-gradation and standardization of curriculum, etc.
An initiative has been taken by the Chief Minister, Punjab and his Government to ameliorate poverty through empowering human resource and providing access to free education to the extremely under privileged sections of the society. The concept of Daanish* Schools is the outcome of this vision. The salient features are:
- To enable the poorest sections of the society to have access to quality education environment and enabling infrastructure
- Daanish Schools are being established with an objective to provide quality education to children belonging to low income segments of the society especially of the less developed areas of Punjab
- These residential schools will cater for the most underprivileged segments of community in the less developed areas of the Punjab, providing children with free, high quality education of the type which so far has been the domain of private schools alone
A fundamental feature of the governance and management of the Daanish Schools is the participation of the local community as a governing body of each school. The Act provides:
- The Authority shall, by notification, declare a School as Daanish School or Centers of Excellence
- The Authority shall, by notification, appoint a governing body of a School for a period of two years
- The governing body shall consist of five or more members who, in the opinion of the Authority, possess sound moral and financial integrity, enjoy an unquestioned and non-controversial reputation and do not have any conflict of interest with the aims and objects of the School
- The Authority shall, nominate one of the members of the governing body as Convener of the governing body
- The Principal of a School shall be the secretary of the governing body of the School
- The Authority shall not appoint a private person as member of more than two governing bodies
- The Authority shall delegate administrative and financial powers to the governing body and the administration of a School in the prescribed manner
- The Authority may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, dissolve a governing body and appoint a new governing body within three months of the dissolution of the governing body
- If the Authority dissolves a governing body, it may appoint any person as administrator of the School to look after the affairs of the School till the appointment of the governing body
The local community will be a major stake holder in the management. Such an experiment in education sector of private – public participation will hopefully augur well for the Schools.
*The word “Daanish” originates from Persian language, adopted in Urdu and means deep rooted wisdom that results from consistent accumulation and assimilation of knowledge.