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Workshop lays stress on value of data management

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IN DISCUSSION: School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu (left), with Neelam Rao, director, Department of School Education and Literacy and SSA’s State Project Director M.P. Vijayakumar at the workshop in Chennai on Thursday.
IN DISCUSSION: School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu (left), with Neelam Rao, director, Department of School Education and Literacy and SSA’s State Project Director M.P. Vijayakumar at the workshop in Chennai on Thursday.

Staff Reporter

“Those who are part of SSA project should be sensitive to the numbers”

CHENNAI: Information without proper data collection and management system will not be of much use. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) national workshop on Management Information Systems organised here on Thursday was based on this premise.

SSA State project director M.P. Vijayakumar said it was the country’s flagship programme and surveys conducted under it were very important.

Previous surveys on education were conducted on school-based data, Mr. Vijayakumar said. Now, household surveys are conducted once in four years and updated every year. This has resulted in the availability of community-based data.

Further, a Cohort study has been undertaken which tracks one crore children for a period of five years and monitors how many of them completed five years of primary education. “We have a comprehensive database. But this data has to be managed properly,” Mr. Vijayakumar said.

He emphasised the importance of those who are part of the project being sensitive to the numbers vis-À-vis the objectives of the project. The Director of the Department of School Education and Literacy, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, Neelam Rao, said the numbers that come in from the field are of paramount importance in planning.

The workshop would discuss how data would be captured in the future and also review previously collected data in hindsight, she said.

“The numbers help to monitor progress and plan for the future. For this there is a need for a highly developed system,” Ms. Rao said. “Gathering data should not turn cumbersome and become a hindrance.”

School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu said the quality of the end product depends on the data gathered at the initial level. “Field data has to be accurate and relevant for the plans to be successful,” he said.

Variables such as enrolment figures, number of teachers and infrastructure development have to be updated constantly.

Later, Ms. Rao said the two-day workshop would be a forum to share ideas and lessons learnt. “MIS [Management Information System] personnel from all the States are present. There will also be technical support from a group of consultants. Secretary to School Education Department M. Kutralingam, Director of Elementary Education J. Uma Maheswari and Director of Teacher Education Research and training K. Perumal Samy participated.

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