Dropout of children from schools, their absenteeism, performance of government schools and its teachers have had a sledgehammer impact on primary education in various states, including Gujarat that is not known to have an impressive track record.
But, things seem to be changing in Gujarat. Conceived in December 2012, the state government has from the June 2014 academic year put into practice a child education tracking system by assigning a digitised Unique Identification code number to all the whopping 87 lakh students between standard 1 and standard 8.
According to Mukesh Kumar, state project coordinator of the Centre’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), every child will have an 18-digit UID number to track his or her academic career. “It will not only track the reasons for his dropping out from school, his absenteeism and his performance but this will also be linked to the consequent training programmes for teachers,” Mukesh Kumar told Mail Today.
He explained that under this system, annual child-wise records would be maintained with the student’s name, birth date, details of parents, address and incentives or benefits received, if at all, from the government. It has been called Aadhaar-enabled District Information System for Education (DISE).
Officials informed that the usual DISE captures only the figures of enrolment, but this has been termed Aadhar-enabled system since the latter contains a comprehensive data of every resident’s demographic and biometric information, “which they can use to identify themselves anywhere in India, and to access a host of benefits and services”.
The same concept has been adopted to build a database of students and to provide unique identification number to all the students in the schools. All the students under elementary schooling system have been covered under this system, the official said.
Among the key aims of the project is to deal with problems like fake enrolment, fudged dropout and retention numbers as well as to ensure universalisation of elementary education, Mukesh Kumar said.
This web-enabled system will not only help become a complete academic track record of every student and his or her socio-economic situation reflected through dropouts and absenteeism but, “very importantly, also create a database and parameters of the performance of every school.”
According to Mukesh Kumar, the database would bring out the commonalities in academic failures in the schools and this would provide the education department a hands-on material for training of teachers to improve their performance. “And thus contribute to the overall improvement of the basic education performance of the state,” he added.
The entire project was specially designed and developed by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Monitoring Information System of Gujarat. The first set of data for 87 lakh students for the academic year 2013-2014 was collected by a Cluster Resource Centre. And this time the data is being collected right from the block level.
According to an internal Education Department note, “a central interface team also called as District Team & Block Team will monitor the end users CRC (Cluster Resource Co-coordinators) to track the entire group of schools allocated to each one of them.” The tracking will include the facility and enrolment, distribution of help-desk operations forms across all the schools.