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Monday, June 21, 2021

Control centre 2.0 to ‘predict’ students at ‘risk of dropping out’

The 2.0 version of the CCC, which will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani Thursday, is built on a government land covering 20,000 square metres.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad |
June 10, 2021 2:59:30 am
He said students on programmes with a start date of August 1 or later can travel to the US on their valid student visa upto 30 days prior to the programme start date mentioned in their I-20 form. (Representational)

Gujarat will get an upgraded version of the Command and Control Centre (CCC) – launched in 2019 to monitor the educational activities of schools across the state – which has a bigger task to carry out: “predict” schools students “who would be at a risk of dropping out”.

The 2.0 version of the CCC, which will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani Thursday, is built on a government land covering 20,000 square metres.

The artistically laid out three-storey building with a statue of Ved Vyasa at the entrance and a huge sculpture of the veena on its lawns, was constructed during the Covid-19 lockdown period when the classes were held online.

“Based on data collated of last two-and-a-half years before the online classes started, using machine learning and artificial intelligence of Periodic Assessment Tests (PAT) and school attendance, the CCC has come up with a preliminary child-tracking system where a prediction or forecast on students most likely to migrate, the places to which they will migrate, and the possibility of them dropping out can be made,” said Secretary Education Vinod Rao.

The data tracked and analysed includes how many times a child has changed schools, details of students who remained absent from tests or scored low marks.

For instance, a large number of students from districts like Godhra, Dahod and Kutch migrate to other districts, when their parents move to other districts in search of work. The pattern of migration from Dahod to Saurashtra during monsoon and from Kutch during summers is evident across government schools.

Each student has a unique identification number and even micro data of a child’s learning outcome—including the chapter in which the student has underperformed – can be tracked along with their attendance in the CCC 2.0.

“Students have been categorised as high, medium and no risk and tracking of such high-risk students in each cluster will help checking their dropping out from schools,” added Rao.

Based on the analysis, the CCC has categorised drop-out of students into two- seasonal migration and result and attendance oriented.

“We can then share this data of students with the CRC co-ordinators which even they are not aware about so that they can ensure the child does not drop out. Also, on the students’ performance, teachers can work on areas where students require more clarity by analysing the PAT reports,” said Rohit Mehta from Central Square Foundation which is closely working with the state education department on the CCC project.

Once the CCC is fully operational, data from July 2020 till March 2021will be analysed for actual implementation of this technology to track and identify students based on the ‘risk factors’ says Rao.

The “war room”, as Rao calls it, has a gigantic video panel split into 20 different screens showing different sets of data accessed at both ends-CCC and by the BRC or CRC co-ordinators who are online and in ‘communication’ at that moment.

The CCC has a seating capacity of 24 callers and data triangulation experts each for primary and secondary schools. The CCC uses the CQube software for data analysis developed by EkStep foundation of Nandan Nilekani, chairman and co-founder of Infosys and founding chairman of UIDAI.

Further, for easy access and quick decisions, the CCC will house all head of departments (HoDs) of education department at the School Education Centre, which is coming up at the place of CCC’s old building.

“We already have 250 crore data sets that has been collected for over 1 crore students over last two and a half years. For instance, the pattern emerging from periodic tests… can be accessed with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” added Rao.

The Indian Express had reported on May 21,2019 how education department had created a new “realtime technology enabled” surveillance plan to “keep an eye” on over 1.95 lakh school teachers known as Command and Control Centre.

To check the high drop-out rate among primary school students especially girls, the Gujarat government, under the then chief minister Narendra Modi, had launched the Kanya Kelavni and Shala Praveshotsav in 2002-03 where ministers and bureaucrats visit schools in both rural and urban areas ensuring admission to all. However, since the pandemic, the two initiatives have been suspended.

As per Niti Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) India Index 2020-21, Gujarat’s adjusted net enrolment ratio (ANER) in elementary education (classes 1-8) has declined from 91.05 to 85.38 per cent as compared to its 2019 report while the Gross enrolment ratio (GER) for secondary classes is 41.2 per cent.

Also, compared to country’s average, Gujarat reported lower net enrolment ratio in elementary school, higher average annual dropout rate at secondary level, lower gross enrolment ratio in higher secondary, lower gross enrolment for higher education, lower gender parity index for higher education. However, in terms of infrastructure, Gujarat does better than the national average, recording a higher percentage of trained teachers and better access to basic amenities at schools.

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