Starting this academic session, Delhi University (DU) teachers may have to mark the attendance of students online as soon as they enter the classroom. The teachers have been asked to mark attendance in ‘real time’, and not after the class is over.
With the system set up through the university intranet, teachers are concerned about days when a certain class is conducted outside the classroom or adjusted for some other day.
On July 13, the DU computer centre held a training programme for introducing the Attendance Management System (AMS) for colleges, which saw principals, time-table convenors and in-charges in attendance.
A time-table convenor said, “We were told that this system has been prepared entirely by the university. As per my understanding, the teacher has to take his/her attendance online in the class and the system will only work in the campus.” The colleges were told that for now, it was not “mandatory”. “But looking at their presentation, it seemed like it can be introduced anytime this year,” said the convenor.
Currently, teachers mark attendance on a register and then update it online either every week or at the end of the month.
Another time-table convenor said, “Faculty members will have no flexibility with this. This would cause problems for teachers when classes are rescheduled.”
The AMS system was implemented last year on a pilot basis in four colleges. From this year, DU is set to expand it to other colleges. The system came about in an effort to help students track their attendance and monitor it.
In DU, 66% attendance is compulsory. Every year, many students are detained over it. This year, law students took the university to the court after they were detained for not having enough attendance.
Last year when this issue had come up, the DU Teachers Association had written to the staff association of the colleges and it was also discussed in one of their meetings.
Rajesh Jha, a political science teacher at Rajdhani College said, “When there is a chapter on United Nations, I like to take my students to the UN library on Lodhi Road. How will the AMS work in such situations? This is only in the name of accountability to regementise the entire system.”
Another teacher said, “The AMS is also an indirect way to monitor teachers’ attendance. It is difficult to understand why the university is bent on bringing such things in the name of reform. Why are we teachers never consulted on such things?”