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Govt schools in 4 BJP-ruled states to go digital

June 23, 2017 12:21 IST

The MHRD plans to track various performance parameters of government school teachers and students through tablets and smartphones, reports Sahil Makkar.

 

The workings of government schools might not be the same from next year, with the Centre planning to roll out an ambitious unified digital system to track the performance of teachers and students, and address the issue of absenteeism among them.

All government school teachers will have to daily record their attendance, the performance of students and the mid-day meal scheme’s progress, either on a tablet or a smartphone, after the roll-out of the digital system.

The government plans to track various performance parameters of 8.7 million school teachers, 250 million students and 1.5 million government or government-aided schools through this electronic platform.

To begin with, the Union ministry of human resource development will shortly launch this project in three Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.

Andhra Pradesh, ruled by the BJP-ally Telugu Desam Party, will also commence the project from this year, an MHRD official said.

The official said every government and government aided-school would be provided a GSM-enabled tablet or a smartphone loaded with an app. Teachers, by using their bio-metric and Aadhaar details, will mark their attendance on the device, similar to what the Central government employees are presently doing in the national capital.

In the rural areas where internet connectivity is an issue, the data will be stored offline and uploaded on the state servers once connected to the internet.

The government believes this will help tackle the issue of absenteeism in schools.

The government will also be asking teachers to capture 14 sets of data for effective school management under the new system, six of which are specifically related to students -- enrolment, progression, attendance, continuous and comprehensive evaluation, and incentives and supplementary teaching management.

Similarly, the system will record four data sets for teachers, including their information, attendance, leave and salary disbursement whereas the schools will be asked to provide information related to school, mid-day meal scheme, facilities and GIS module on the system.

Currently, all the information is stored and maintained in registers and physically sent to the state education department for verification.

Officials said the objective of the scheme was to improve the school management and eliminate the re-reporting of data.

The government, which is buoyed with success of a pilot project in Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh, believes that the unified digital system will reduce the cost of data collection and help it in timely interventions.

“The pilot carried out in Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh has showed phenomenal results. Now, we are replicating the same in the entire state of Chhattisgarh. A few other states have also shown interest,” said a senior government official overseeing the project.

After the pilot project named Chhattisgarh Online School Monitoring System, teacher attendance reportedly improved from 52 per cent to 86 per cent in those schools where it was less than 70 per cent.

The pilot covered 2,220 schools and 7,000 teachers in six blocks of Balrampur between May 2015 and May 2016.

Officials said they had decided to roll out the system in the entire state of Chhattisgarh with Rs 60 crore assistance from the MHRD and Rs 40 crore from the state government.

The state government was in the process of issuing tenders for the purchase of around 40,000 tablets.

“This will be followed by training of all key stakeholders by July 25. Once the training is finished, the MHRD will launch the pilot on August 1 in Chhattisgarh with select states. After analysing the pilot learning, the national implementation approach will be finalised, so that a national launch can be planned in the academic year 2018-19,” said a concept note reviewed by Business Standard.

Officials said concerns related to internet connectivity, telephonic connectivity and Aadhaar-based bio-metric authentications were needed to be addressed before rolling out the system. Till the time issues were sorted out, they said, teachers and schools would be asked to maintain offline data as well.

Sahil Makkar
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