KATHMANDU, AUGUST 25
Nepal's community schools have been preparing, implementing and reviewing SIPs (School Improvement Plans) for the last two decades every year.
SIPs must align with the existing government policy provisions pertaining to school education by involving stakeholders. Preparing SIPs with their involvement makes them practical and feasible to improve the overall school condition.
In preparing a SIP, the School Management Committee (SMC) forms a task force of five members involving key stakeholders.
The task force holds consultations, reviews the previous year's SIP and comes Improving schools through SIP up with new action plans and priorities.
After the SMC approves it, a copy of the SIP is submitted to the local government annually to obtain disbursed school funds. The head teacher then takes the lead role in implementing the plan, while the SMC monitors, evaluates and reviews the process.
In practice, this policy has been realised with a great deal of variation among schools. The pro-activeness of the head teachers and other teachers is crucial to prepare a SIP. For instance, a new head teacher in Kailali district consulted and collaborated with the stakeholders to prepare a complete SIP for the first time in the school's history. In another school, teachers worked hard on behalf of the head teacher by searching materials from websites and learning to write a SIP.
After making SIP preparation and implementation mandatory in the community schools in 2001, its practice appears to have been slightly systematised over the years. School stakeholders have shown renewed focus to improve the SIP preparation process by attempting to involve parents, teachers, students, SMC members and ward chairs.
Yet, the influence of parents is negligent. Also most schools are unable to come up with radical goals and hardly reflect local needs, priorities and plans, making SIP a mere ritual.
Preparing SIP is hampered by lack of knowledge on the part of the stakeholders. When the head teacher himself has little understanding about the SIP process in some instances, it is pointlessto expect anything from the parents.
The initiative to decentralise Nepal's education sector has had some positive outcomes.
The school stakeholders now have a positive perception about the SIP-making process as a whole. In implementing some of the plans, no cost is involved.
For example, adopting student-centric teaching methods, using locally available teaching materials and involving students in group work require no extra cost or extra exertion on the part of the teachers.
A version of this article appears in the print on August 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.