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1 Feb 2017

Biometric teacher attendance

TT, New Delhi, Jan. 31: The Economic Survey has recommended that biometric tracking of teachers' attendance be introduced in government primary schools and the data monitored by parents and local communities.
The Survey has cited the low-learning outcome of children in government schools and linked it to teacher absenteeism and shortage of professionally qualified teachers.
According to the UNESCO- EFA (Education For All) Monitoring Report for 2014, teacher absenteeism in India varies between 15 per cent (in Maharashtra) and 42 per cent (in Jharkhand).
"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 the activities during the working hours," the Economic Survey 2016-17 said.
The recommendation has come at a time the government is increasingly using Aadhaar-based authentication - it involves biometric data - for delivery of subsidy, scholarships and monitoring of enrolment data of children in schools.
The National University of Educational Planning and Administration, which compiles student enrolment data, has asked states to direct schools to provide the Aadhaar numbers of each student for its database.
The Centre has already started the system of biometric attendance in its offices, where employees have to register their presence both at the time of arrival and departure.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said the Centre was considering introducing a teacher evaluation system in which student feedback would be a component. Guidelines for assessment of teachers may be laid down soon.
The Survey has noted that the expenditure on teachers in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan budget has steadily increased over the years from 35 per cent in 2011-12 to 59 per cent in 2014-15. But the learning outcome has continued to remain poor.
To start with, a pilot project to biometrically track teachers' attendance may be started in one district in every state, the Survey said. Based on how it pans out, the project may be expanded to all districts in three years.

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