An initiative taken in Rajasthan to organise ‘Baal Sabha’ (children’s assembly) of government schools at public places in villages was praised at a workshop of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in New Delhi over the weekend. These events have helped reduce dropout rate of school students.Deputy Director, Rajasthan Council of School Education, Manaram Jakhar, who represented the State in the capacity-building workshop, said the ‘Baal Sabhas’ had led to an effective participation of local communities in the management of schools and helped bring qualitative improvement in academic standards. He said four lakh new enrolments in government schools had been recorded in the new academic session.An 18-minute documentary on ‘Baal Sabha’, highlighting the creativity of students and participation of village elders for raising academic standards, was screened at the workshop. The education department has made distinguished villagers members of the school management committees.Mr. Jakhar said the participation of parents, village elders and elected representatives had made the ‘Baal Sabha’ events interactive. The results of examinations and important decisions are announced in ‘Baal Sabhas’ and the information about various initiatives, such as Rajiv Gandhi career portal launched recently, is provided on the occasion.