Ferozepur, August 11, 2012 : The policies and political career in Punjab, has remained surrounded by several controversies.
Now, on Apri1 1, 2012, all the Village Educational Development Committees (VEDC) in Punjab has been disbanded and in its place, School Management Committees (SMC) has been constituted. These committees are different from VEDC as now the chairman and members of new committees, in good numbers, are the parents of the school students.
A three days resident and non-residential training progamme is being organised by the Education Department during the months of August, September and October, to make them aware about the implementation of Right to Education Act, Quality Education and Duties and Rights of School Management Committees. On residential training, a sum of Rs.200 per day and Rs.100 for non-residential training for each member will be spent.
As per the sources, 20,183 committees have been constituted in the government schools of Punjab and total number of members in all the committees is 1,61,464 and an amount of Rs.17.82 crore is to be spent on their hospitality. These funds have been received in the office of the District Education Officers (DEOs) which is further to be utilised by 228 Block Primary Education Officers (BPEOs).
The first installment of Rs.29.68 lakh for 10,768 committees in Amritsar District, Barnala 6.38 lakh, Bathida Rs.14 lakh, Faridkot Rs.8.57 lakhs, Fatehgarh Sahib Rs.15 lakhs, Fazilka Rs.15 lakhs, Ferozepur Rs.21 lakhs, Gurdaspur Rs.36 lakhs, Hoshiarpur Rs.41 lakhs, Jalandhar Rs.32 lakhs, Kapurthala Rs.18 lakhs, Ludhiana Rs.35 lakhs, Mansa Rs.10 lakhs, Moga Rs.13 lakhs, Mohali Rs.14 lakhs, Muktsar Rs.11 lakhs, Nawanshahr Rs.14 lakhs, Pathankot Rs.12 lakhs, Patiala Rs.30 lakhs, Ropar Rs.19 lakhs, Sangrur Rs.23 lakhs, Taran Taran Rs.17 lakhs.
The first installment of these funds to the tune of Rs.4.45 crore, for resident and non-residential trainings, have been received by the districts for 20,183 committees in 22 districts and the next installment will be released subsequently.
All these funds are to be spent by the BPEOs under the strict supervision of DEO (Elementary) and deputy commissioner of the district will also keep special vigil on its proper utilization.
According to another source, during the last time also a controversy has arisen on spending of such funds on the hospitality of VEDCs in 228 blocks and the remarks were passed on “as to whether these are training programmes or village parties”.
In December 2008 also throwing all norms and procedures to wind, the then SAD MLA from Adampur, Sarabjit Makkar had issued direct orders to officials of the education department for disbanding certain village education development committees (VEDC) and constituting new ones. VEDCs (now SMCs) are constituted under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan, a scheme funded by the Union government. At that time, the SAD leader wrote to a block education officer, saying, "You are instructed that as several complaints had been received against the present VEDC of Kadiana village, it is disbanded... Constitute a new VEDC and report back." Not stopping at that, he had also given a list of nine members and named a panchayat member as chairman of the committee.
The Management Committees seriously interested for the development of educational institutions informed that Education Department should not spent lavishly Rs.18 crores on these trainings and this is not a small amount and in the name of trainings, there are chances of mis-utilisation of funds, while making arrangements for training by booking the marriage palaces and it would be more appropriate if such trainings are organised in the school campuses itself and in such a way, lion’s share of these funds can be saved for arranging the modern infra-structure in the schools besides basic amenities. A great enthusiasm is also seen amongst the officers at the time of release in the districts of Punjab.
While talking to the members of the Education Reforms Committee members, they said that now the question is only as to what steps are taken by the government, for the development of the education system, after getting the suggestions from these committee members? Only the time will tell, which way the wind blows.