Workshop on Women Equality, Violence against Women and Women Education with SMC Members

workshop with school management committeeA workshop with School Management Committee (SMC) members on women equality, violence against women and women education was held at the Training Centre on July 28, 2016. Representatives of 42 SMCs participated. After pleasantries, the participants were told that the objective of the workshop was to impart information about rights and duties to the office-bearers of SMC formed under Right to Education so these committees could play their roles in education of the children in the schools.

The session started with detailing of the provisions of Right to Education law, which included rights and duties of SMCs. Rights to Education Act, 2009, was implemented by the Central Government throughout the country on April 1, 2010. Following this the Uttar Pradesh Government issued a Government Order on June 28, 2011, detailing out the constitution and functions of SMCs. They will be constituted in all the government and government aided schools and after every two months they will be re-constituted. An SMC will have 15 members in all, out of which 11 will be parents and guardians and the rest will include principal, panchayat representatives, lekhpal and ANM. Among the members there will be parents and guardians of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and weaker sections of the society.

As gender and women equality are a critical issue detailed information was gender and women equality. The session began with clarifying concepts of gender and sex and went on to detail out forms of violence against women which is prevalent in all set ups, castes and religions. Violence against women meant mental, physical, sexual, social, political and emotional violence.

Then the participants were apprised of Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which provided protection to women from the violence in the home and family. The topics covered included forms of domestic violence, who were victims and who were perpetrators and what kinds of orders could be issued. The act also defines the roles of police officials, magistrates and service providers. As it is a civil law, punishment with imprisonment cannot be given, but if the culprit villages any order of the court, it becomes a cognisable and non-bailable crime and for this the culprit may be imprisoned with one year in jail, or Rs 20,000 fine, or both.

This session was followed by informing the participants with Aaroh campaign.

In the open session, the participants shared their experiences. Many members said that they never got any information about holding of the meeting or anything else. Now with the information received they would go back to the villages and work accordingly.

The workshop concluded with the summing up of the conclusions like the members must attend monthly meetings, they should know their rights and roles, approach the head master of the school as to why not invited to the meeting, do not sign on a cheque or register without meeting, keep an eye on the works being done in the school whether it is uniform distribution or mid-day meal, etc.