Almost a year after having promised to install an attendance tracking system in city schools, the UT Education Department is yet to deliver on its promise. In June last year, the Education Department had stated that in order to keep a track of ‘dummy’ schools and the number of students bunking school to attend coaching classes, attendance tracking systems would be installed in all private and government schools.
Even though biometric attendance machines have been installed at five city government schools for teachers, the Education Department is yet to begin install these machines for students. “Students of senior secondary classes i.e. 11th and 12th leave private schools and join ‘dummy’ government schools in order to devote all of their time to coaching centres. The idea behind installing an attendance tracking system was to keep a check on this prevalent practice, however nothing has been done so far,” explained H.S Mamik, Chairperson of Vivek High School.
As per the suggestion that was put forward, along with the schools, the UT Education Department would also monitor the attendance of students of classes 11 and 12 through the online system. Through a common web-based portal, the attendance records of all the city schools were to be linked with the official website of the UT Education Department.
In order to keep a check on coaching centres in the city, the then DPI (Schools) Kamlesh Kumar had also insisted that these centres would be required to submit details of the number of students enrolled in each of their batch timings. However, with coaching and tuition centres in the city still running on their own norms without regularisation, not much action has been initiated in this regard over the last one year.
Explaining the menace of coaching centres in the city and how students are increasingly neglecting schools to attend these classes, President of UT Cadre Educational Employees Union Swarn Singh Kamboj said, “Till date, the Administration has not been able to regularise coaching centres in the city; anyone and everyone can be seen opening these centres without proper qualifications. And more and more students are seen turning to the coaching centres, because it has become a norm that a child cannot excel in his/her exams without going to tuition.”
“Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Shayin had once passed a notification to all these coaching centres, instructing them to not hold classes before 3 PM. However, after he was repatriated in a few months, the notification did not carry forward. The Education Department needs to get a hold of the way students are running behind coaching centres, and these suggested attendance tracking systems need to be installed in schools at the earliest,” Kamboj added. In order to prevent students from bunking schools, suggestions were also put forward recommending that classes be held till 12:30 PM only for medical and non-medical students of classes 11 and 12.
According to officials of the Education Department, the department has already written to the IT Department for installation of biometric attendance machines for teachers and students, and the first phase of the project was likely to be implemented in three months. In the first phase however, these machines will be installed only for teachers and consequently for students. Currently, biometric attendance systems for teachers is installed at five government schools, but these have not yet been linked to Education Department’s main server.