Introduction Since the Independence of our country, the Government of India has been striving hard to involve the community more and more in the system of administration and process of development. The establishment of Community Development Blocks in the 1st Five Year Plan and the creation of Panchayati Raj Institutions at Gram Panchayat, Block and District levels were the initial attempts to ensure community involvement especially in development and administration. During the first 25 years after the Independence, it was realized by the Government that the involvement of community has remained more on pen and paper than in the real system of administration and development. Some of the major reasons identified to explain this situation were: (1) high rate of illiteracy especially among the Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and Women, (2) lack of any policy and programme to empower the community in respect of development and administration (3) non effectiveness of the system of devolution of power etc. This realization led the Government to give more emphasis upon ensuring functional participation of community in administration and development. Hence the Government enacted the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 to confer constitutional status on the Panchayati Raj Institutions and thereby made it mandatory to involve community in the process of development and administration. Since then, in all kinds of development programmes, involvement of community has been taken up as an integral component. During 1990s, in the field of education, a few programmes like Lok Jumbish, Education Guarantee Scheme and District Primary Education Programme were implemented involving the community and the experience gained from these programmes reinforced that community can play a significant role in education. Keeping in view the vision of the Constitution (73rd and 74th Amendment) Act, 1992 and the output of these programmes, the Government of India launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a nationwide, time bound educational programme to promote elementary education by involving community at various levels and in an institutionalized manner to sustain their involvement.