School Management Committee meeting in TN: Tobacco products usage among students discussed

One of the main resolutions passed during the meetings in high and higher secondary schools was to prevent the abuse of banned tobacco products in schools
What else was discussed? | (Pic: EdexLive)
What else was discussed? | (Pic: EdexLive)

After a gap of two months, the School Management Committee (SMCs) meetings of the government schools in the state were convened across Tamil Nadu on Friday, January 5. Several resolutions, including the prevention of use of tobacco products among children, were passed in many of the schools during the meeting, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

Recently, the school education department issued two Government Order (GOs) stressing on the importance of SMCs. While one stated all infrastructure projects to be carried out in the schools under various schemes should be carried out only after resolutions are passed by the SMCs, the other formed a state-level monitoring committee (SLMC) headed by chief secretary to address the issues raised by SMCs.

Even though the GOs stresses on the importance of SMCs in the functioning of the school by providing them with more powers, the department had also earlier given oral orders to conduct SMC meetings once in three months based on the request from the teachers' associations. The associations had claimed conducting regular meetings with parents has become a burden as many parents refuse to attend.

One of the main resolutions passed during the meetings in high and higher secondary schools was to prevent the abuse of banned tobacco products in schools. If many schools in a locality raise the problem of the availability of banned tobacco products, it will reach the district collector and subsequently the chief secretary. If they instruct the police to act and curb the menace, there could be a solution to the problem, said an official from the school education department.

Last August, schools across the state were asked to form anti-drug clubs with students from Class IX onwards as members. The other resolutions include parents and teachers involved in cleaning activity of schools from January 8 to 10, carrying out the higher education guidance programme for higher secondary students and preventing dropouts.

The Kerala trip
According to sources, the department has also sent teachers to Kerala to see how the school management committees are conducted there. While teachers say it is difficult for them to bring parents to the meetings, it is simplified in Kerala where the meetings are even conducted at houses. This might be a good model instead of conducting the meetings once in three months, he added.

Meanwhile, it is unsure if the SMC meetings would be conducted every month or once in three months. "As per the Right to Education Act, the meeting has to be conducted every month. While there may be some hiccups in the beginning stages, conducting meetings regularly will solve them gradually. This is a democratic set-up and it shouldn't be changed. We are conducting a signature campaign among parents to ensure that meetings are held every month," said Thenkanal, state organiser of Palli Kalvi Paadhukaapu Iyakkam.

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