Karnataka

SMS-based attendance in schools saves money

The system keeps tabs on students and teachers in all the 1,600 government schools and 500 aided schools in Bidar district.  

A simple SMS-based system introduced in Bidar schools has reaped benefits. It not only monitors the attendance of teachers and students, but helps the district administration save money on various government schemes.

The system keeps tabs on students and teachers in all the 1,600 government schools and 500 aided schools. Since its introduction over two years ago, the zilla panchayat has saved Rs. 12 crore in midday meal bills and other schemes, officials say.

It works like this: every morning, schools must send an SMS to the zilla panchayat on all teachers who have reported for duty, and students in each class. The headmaster or a senior teacher nominated by him is responsible for the communication.

A zilla panchayat officer receives the messages and the data is automatically uploaded to the National Informatics Centre server. The data is in the public domain and anyone can access it on bidarschoolattendance.kar.nic.in.

Earlier, headmasters submitted attendance sheets to the Deputy Director of Public Instruction once a month. Some of them tended to boost the attendance figures. Now, however, there has been a reduction of 10 to 15 per cent in attendance, a senior officer said. This has reduced spending on student-centric schemes.

“The system has yielded vital data on education to better implement schemes,” said Sharat B., ZP chief executive officer. “Its benefits are not just economic. Over a few years, we will be able to plot trends like consistency in attendance, dropout rates, seasonal changes in attendance, and even social issues like migration,” he said.

The tool was developed in 2013 by a team of officers led by the then ZP chief executive officer Ujjwal Kumar Ghosh, probationary IAS officer Pawan Kumar Malpati and district informatics officer K. Srinivas.

“We used simple tools to collate data from SMS and update it on our servers daily,” said Mr. Srinivas.

“This ‘jugaad’ has saved us at least 10 per cent of the funds on midday meal and other schemes,” says Deputy Commissioner P.C. Jaffer. “It has addressed several issues in the administration of the department. Initially, it was not received well by headmasters, who felt their hands were already full. But we were able to convince them.”



ZP has saved

Rs. 12 crore in midday meal bills and other schemes since its introduction over two years ago



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Printable version | May 13, 2021 12:38:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/smsbased-attendance-in-schools-saves-money/article7229562.ece

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