A recent notification from the state education department to all the government-run and grant-in-aid colleges across Gujarat, mandating an online attendance system for teachers, non-teaching staff and students, has met with resistance from teachers and non-teaching staff. Unions of both groups made representations to the education minister opposing the move, sources in the education department said
According to the notification, if a faculty member is more than 10 minutes late in punching in thrice a month, he or she will lose one leave. Moreover, faculty members are expected to take the students’ attendance and upload it on a daily basis. Those opposing the move said the exercise takes up 20-25 minutes and eats into academic time. The association of principals issued an informal order not to register online attendance till the issue is resolved by the department
It is welcome that the government is concerned about tabulation of data on attendance of all employees but there are practical roadblocks — more than 30% of posts of faculty members are vacant and vacancies for non-teaching staff are higher. Moreover, not all places in Gujarat have similar quality of mobile networks, for uploading the data. Those not following the rules are minuscule in number but because of them all will be affected,” said a member of the principals’ association, on condition of anonymity.
At present, around 7,000 government-run schools in Gujarat are already having biometric-based attendance system after then Chief Minister Narendra Modi announced to implement such a system few years back.
Going one step ahead of biometric-based attendance system, the Gujarat Education Department has decided to implement a broader system to monitor physical presence of students and teachers in state-run schools as well as colleges with the help of 'live web streaming' of video or photographs of classrooms.
To find out the feasibility and other technicalities about integrating the bio-metric attendance machines with 'live' monitoring system, the State Education Department has called a meeting of all the interested parties on September 5 before floating a tender for the same.
As per the public notice issued by Education Department for interested parties, there are approximately 33,000 government primary schools, 6000 secondary schools, 300 Science, Commerce and Arts colleges and 60 government Engineering and Diploma colleges in the state.