E-database to keep track of TN schools, students

Aiming for better management of schools that come under its authority, the Tamil Nadu government will soon adopt Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping to give a technological edge to its School Education Department (SED).

“Tamil Nadu will be the first state in India to upgrade its SED into an ‘E-SED’. This will happen when the GIS mapping is clubbed with the Education Management Information System (EMIS) which will provide a database of all children studying in government, state-aided and private schools (that come under the state board),” School Education Minister Vaigaichelvan told the Legislative Assembly on Friday.

He said the GIS mapping of schools will give complete details of a school, from its location to the resources it has.

The location, with latitude and longitude of all the schools, the distance from the nearest habitation, infrastructure facilities, road and rail connectivity and other details will be available in the database, he informed the House.

Stating that the GIS mapping has taken the SED to a “higher level of planning,” Vaigaichelvan said that together with the EMIS, it will help the SED to keep track of not only each school, but every schoolchild in Tamil Nadu. A pilot programme in this regard has already been started in five schools in Tiruchirappalli district and it will be implemented across the state in the current academic year (2013-14), he said.

“The database, stored in the central server of the SED, will help to monitor and control school drop-out rates, track gender and social factors affecting schoolchildren,” Vaigaichelvan said, “the analysis of the data would enable the state government to take timely corrective steps.”

He said the GIS mapping also helped to asses the availability of schools near habitations as prescribed by the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

Based on this data, the government will establish 732 primary schools and 330 higher primary schools within a radius of 1 km and 3 km respectively, from human habitations.
This will be done in a phased manner to ensure 100 per cent enrolment of children, he added.

The minister said the rise in the enrolment of children in private schools has become a cause for concern, but assured that the teacher-pupils ratio in primary and middle schools in the state was better than the national average.

Helpline, sops for schoolchildren
Chief Minister J Jayalalitha said the government will, with the help of the police, set up toll-free helplines in all government schools to curb sexual harassment of girl children. Replying to a question by DMDK MLA Sudha, she said: “Any complaint of sexual harassment of girl students is now promptly attended to by the police.”  Vaigaichelvan said the government will give woolen sweaters at a cost of Rs 4.12 crore to 10.3 lakh schoolchildren in hilly areas.

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