I would like to express my view on Parents Teachers Meeting through this daily English newspaper “ The Kashmir Horizon” for the people of Jammu-Kashmir in general and teachers community in particular.Jammu-Kashmir is seeing revival of community involvement in functioning of schools for better results and result-oriented action to achieve excellence.PTM can also be termed as an interaction between the parent and the concerned teacher while the subject will be the student.Special arrangement.The Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) and Directorate Of School Education Jammu (DSEJ) recently issued orders for holding monthly Parent Teacher Meetings (PTM) in schools, an initiative which was lacking in the government-run educational institutions.The government initiative will definitely bear positive results because engaging parents in PTMs will help teachers to understand more about their children.The move is seen as a welcome step as it can bridge the gap between the teachers and the community members particularly parents and also bring a sense of belonging among the parents towards the government schools.PTM can also be termed as an interaction between the parent and the concerned teacher while the subject will be the student.These interactions, if held monthly or fortnightly can become a sort of report card of the students highlighting improvement in his behaviour and the academic performance. We all know that in the past, organising weekly PTM was an essential part of schooling wherein the parents and the teachers would discuss weekly progress of the school children. However, with the passage of time and the establishment of private schools, the PTM gradually became a thing of the past.Doing away with PTM in schools created a void and parents became least interested in the functioning of the schools which gradually affected the enrollment of these schools.Maybe the enrollment in schools decreased over the years because of the missing links between the parents (community) and the schools with the result these government run institutions became the last preference for the parents.
No doubt that the government efforts in the last two years have borne fruits as the enrollment, according to officials, has increased by more than two lakh students.But only enrolling students will not bring much change in government schools unless the society shows its ownership over these schools which can be done only by engaging them in day to day affairs of the schools in a decent way.We all know that learning is a complex phenomenon and every child faces difficulties in learning besides mental stress and several identified and unidentified challenges as well. So the PTM is an opportunity to engage the parents in functioning of the schools wherein the teachers and parents can exchange their thoughts and views on the academics and behavior of the students besides the other challenges faced by the students. It is worthwhile to mention here that during previous years, the government shifted its focus on selling slogans of free and compulsory education and no focus was given on community engagement. The teachers see the PTM as fuel to the vehicle who believe that the learning is a tripolar process wherein a Student, teacher and parent are as important as a vehicle having tyres to run on a road.“It is obvious that a student cannot flourish until he is not nourished properly and for his nourishment all the factors are equally important,” Once the academic and behavioral progress is shared with his/her parents, it brings accountability both among teachers as well as parents.
Usually, a teacher is responsible from 10am to 4pm and afterwards it is the parent who has to take care of the child and share his views with the teachers during the PTM.The PTM can act as a platform for the teachers and parents to discuss a child’s progress at school and focus will be laid to bring solutions for academic and behavioral problems. The PTM will open up channels of communication wherein the school authorities and parents will focus on specific strengths and weaknesses of students in individual subjects and generalise the level of inter-curricular skills.The crux is that the initiative of reviving PTM in government schools will retain the lost glory of the government schools. It will bring a sense of belonging among the parents and community members as a whole which ultimately will result in accountability in government schools once they get the public ownership, which otherwise was somehow missing till date.The initiative of PTM can bridge the gap among the stakeholders- Parents and the teachers as it can create communication channels where the primary stakeholders can focus on holistic development of the student.It has been broadly observed that the parents usually remain busy in their course while the teacher, in most of the cases, keeps his role confined to teaching on the black board and no focus is given on the overall development of the child.But an active participation of the parents can bring massive change in a child’s academic performance besides nurturing him/her for his overall development as well. PTM helps in direct involvement or engagement of the parents and makes him equally responsible for assessing the progress of the school child at home while the equal share of responsibilities is taken by the teacher who keeps a track of the student during the school hours.It becomes easy for the teachers to seek feedback from the parents about the child’s strongest and weakest areas and work on remedial measures is started jointly by the parents and the teachers for better performance of the students. With the help of PTMs, it becomes easy for parents and teachers to plan for a better learning outcome of a child. The active participation also helps in doing away with the negative approach towards the school and the parent teacher meeting serves as a tool to exchange observations of a child with each other. By holding PTMs, the parents become part and parcel of the functioning of the school. Besides academic performance of the child, the parent also shows responsibility in overall development of the institution. Once the sense of belonging develops among the parents, they show keen interest in upgrading the schools in terms of getting all the facilities varying from adequate classrooms to recreational facilities besides fulfilling other needs of the students. In a way the PTM helps in building a healthy relationship between the stakeholders. Besides bringing positive changes in the child’s behaviour, a teacher also modifies his way of handling the students in schools as per needs. The department has come up with this much needed initiative which is expected to bring a positive change in the functioning of government schools. It will hopefully shift the focus of the stakeholders to concentrate on the actual area of concern which is beneficial for overall development of the student’s behaviour and will also change the perception about the government schools. Hope the PTM will succeed in reviving community involvement in functioning of schools for better results and result-oriented action to achieve excellence.
(The author is EVS Lecturer at Govt Higher Secondary School Kheelani Doda. The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the author but aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)