Pune schools may, once again, miss the State Education Department’s deadline for filling academic details into the government’s online database — SARAL. While most schools attributed the delay to technical glitches and server issues, a few said load-shedding was making it nearly impossible for them to upload the data.
The deadline, which has already been extended twice, was recently changed to October 16. SARAL (Systematic Administrative Reforms for Achievement of Learning by Students) is an online database, introduced by the State Education Department where all the details pertaining to students, teachers and schools are expected to be uploaded. According to the department, the information will come in handy for a number of purposes, such as ascertaining adequate student-teacher ratio, qualified teachers, tracking both students and teachers in terms of attendance, implementation of RTE norms and so on.
Most schools complained that they were forced to make staffers work overtime, at odd hours, from home or even cyber cafes, to upload the data and yet the job couldn’t be done. Jagrutti Dharmadhikari, principal of Saraswati Vidyalaya and president of Independent English Schools Association (IESA), said schools across the state have been facing the same issue. “Either the server doesn’t have the capacity to take all the data or there is some other serious issue. Whatever the case, it is unlikely that any school will meet the deadline and the state government is aware of this situation,” he said.
S Shridhar, director of academics at Matru Vidyalaya, said his staff spent the entire day on the computer on Monday but couldn’t upload the data. “The server response was poor. User names and passwords didn’t match, we don’t know why. Also, they keep asking for the same data — first in physical forms, then in the online database.”
In some schools, frequent power cuts created additional issues. School managements said staffers had to go to cyber cafe’s to finish the work. Rajiv Mendiratta, director of The Stepping Stone School, said, “We were facing frequent power cuts and since we don’t have much generator support, we had to send our admin staffers to nearby cyber cafes. Even there, they were not able to complete the work on time since the servers were down. It is quite frustrating.”