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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Explained: Gujarat govt’s control centre to monitor educational projects

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Command and Control Centre, or Vidya Samiksha Kendra, set up by the Gujarat Education Department in Gandhinagar on Monday. A look at what it is, and how it began.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad |
Updated: April 19, 2022 7:29:27 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the staff during his visit to Vidya Samiksha Kendra, in Gandhinagar. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a two-day Gujarat tour on April 18 by visiting the Command and Control Centre set up by the Education Department.

What is the Command and Control Centre 2.0 or ‘Vidya Samiksha Kendra’?

In June 2021, former Chief Minister Vijay Rupani inaugurated the technological and infrastructural upgraded Command and Control Centre called CCC 2.0, a surveillance system which tracks enrolment, attendance, learning outcomes, drop-outs, school accreditation and monitors schools, teachers and block and cluster resource centre co-ordinators. This state of the art data driven centre is based on the National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR) Framework. The centre is located in sector 19 of Gandhinagar and is aimed at leveraging data and technology to improve learning outcomes.

When did it begin?

The current centre has its roots in 2019. It is a much upgraded version of the state government’s realtime technology enabled surveillance system to “keep an eye” on over 1.95 lakh school teachers that was launched in Gujarat in 2019.

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Established with the aim to improve the quality of education by ensuring teachers stick to their assigned tasks on a daily basis, the system was devised after various discussions and reports concluded that poor monitoring of teachers resulted in absenteeism and “non-seriousness”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Vidya Samiksha Kendra, in Gandhinagar. (PTI Photo)

It was not just the teachers, though. Even those who monitor them were handed GPS-enabled tablets and tracked through geofencing by which an alert triggered when a mobile device enters or leaves a specified area.

The entire surveillance operation was being run from a tech-equipped command and control centre. This grew from a staff of 50 dedicated members, hired in equal numbers from the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the office of the Director, Primary Education (DPE) running a call centre was upgraded in 2021.

What does it do?

The CCC monitors 55,000 primary and secondary government schools and hand holds 4 lakh teachers to help improve learning outcomes of nearly 1.2 crore students.

Education Secretary Vinod Rao, who spearheaded the project, says that the Centre already has over 1,000 crore data sets “that has been collected for over one crore students over the last two-and-a-half years”. He says it can track details like “the pattern emerging from periodic tests, which student has performed badly in which subject and which question, (which) can be accessed with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning”.

Also, CCC is being used for inter-operability of data systems – that exist in silos, like student and teacher attendance data, CRC app data, semester assessment, CCC monitoring data, U-DISE, periodic assessment tests (PAT) and so on.

For easy access and quick decisions, the plan is to have CCC house all head of departments (HoDs) of education at the School Education Centre. The building for which on the same campus, is under construction.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accompanied by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel during his visit to Vidya Samiksha Kendra. (PTI Photo)

Tracking students at the risk of dropping out

Going beyond the drop-out and attendance numbers of primary and secondary students of government schools, the Gujarat government was looking at much more advanced technology driven data including a predictive analysis of students who are at a risk of dropping out.

Based on data collated of last nearly three years using machine learning and artificial intelligence of Periodic Assessment Tests (PAT) and school attendance, the CCC came up with a preliminary child tracking system where a prediction or forecast on students most likely to migrate from where to which areas and their possibility of drop-outs can be made in advance.

The data tracked and analysed include school history of a child right from his migration from which district and school to where, how many times has he changed the school. Also, data of students who remained absent from tests or students who scored low can also predict the chances of their drop-out.

Thus, students have been categorised as high, medium and no risk and tracking of such high risk students in each cluster will help check their dropping out from schools.

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

This data of students is then shared with the Cluster Resource Centre (CRC) co-ordinators so that they can ensure the child does not actually quit school. Also, on the students’ performance, teachers can work on areas where students require more clarity by analysing the PAT reports.

The ‘war room’

Located on the first floor of the CCC is the gigantic screen beaming 20 different sets of data that can be accessed at both ends – CCC and by the BRC or CRC co-ordinators who are online and in ‘communication’ at that moment. The screen is a real-time dashboard for data driven decision making.

From a temporary set up in 2019, the new ground-plus-two-storeyed building of CCC 2.0 has a seating capacity of 24 callers and data triangulation experts each for primary and secondary schools.

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