'Introduce biometric system in primary schools to check teachers' absenteeism'

Survey says local communities should monitor attendance

'Introduce biometric system in primary schools to check teachers' absenteeism'
The Economic Survey has suggested introduction of biometric attendance system for teachers in all primary schools. The Survey has identified  ‘teacher absenteeism’ as one of the main causes behind the fall in the learning outcome of students. The Survey report, tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday, recommended that electronic record of the arrival and departure of the primary school teachers be maintained for each scheduled class, lecture or session.

“A pilot project in one district of every state may be commenced for six months to be extended to all districts in three years,” the Economic Survey 2016-17 added. The recommendation of the Survey assumes significance as the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is working on laying down certain parameters to evaluate the performance of the school- teachers. Students’ feedback will be one of the key indicators for evaluation of teachers’ performance, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar recently said while addressing an event here.

“While there has been improvement in access and retention, the learning outcome for a majority of children is still a cause of serious concern. Some of the underlying causes contributing to low quality of education in the primary sector are teacher absenteeism and the shortage of professionally qualified teachers,” the Economic Survey underlined.

Though the share of teacher component in total Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) budget has been increasing over the years from 35% in 2011-12 to 59% in 2014-15, teacher absenteeism and the shortage of professionally qualified teachers “remain an issue to be addressed,” it added.

“An option to address teacher absenteeism that can be explored is biometric attendance of all teachers in primary schools for each scheduled class/lecture/session/ distinct from the present system, where it is morning and evening to ostensibly record arrival and departures with little control on  activities during the working hours,” the Survey suggested.

The biometric attendance should be regularly monitored by the local communities and parents, it said. “It should also be put in public domain,” it added. The introduction of the biometric attendance system should be backed by “adequate teaching aids, recorded lectures, etc. to fill in for absentee teachers,” the Survey suggested.

“The scope of implementation should leave room for flexibility at the local level so the same does not end up as top driven Model Schools. The pilot of biometric attendance of teachers should be accompanied with an evaluation of learning outcomes,” it added.

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