DEHRADUN: College students feel biometric system is not effective alone in ensuring the presence of teachers, who are facing the heat from Minister of State for Higher Education Dhan Singh Rawat over attendance.
On Sunday, Rawat said digital attendance would be made compulsory in all colleges. College students, however, insist there are still some loopholes in the system.
In fact, there are about 100 government colleges of which 78 have biometric system of attendance, as per the data of the directorate of higher education. More than 6,000 teachers serve in these government colleges.
According to students, the process of punching finger prints twice daily to register incoming and outgoing time doesn’t stop college teachers from giving classes a miss during the day.
“Teachers are used to taking private tuitions. Biometric system is a failure as it is easier for them to punch their entry and exit timings only twice during the day. The real pressure will come if attendance is marked outside every classroom so that there’s a record that teachers took classes and were present,” Swati Negi, leader of Congress-backed National Students Union of India (NSUI), tells Hindustan Times.
“Class-wise attendance should be mandatory and it should be linked with salaries. If a teacher has four classes during the day, he should be present in all of them else their salaries should be deducted,” Pradeep Tomar, former president of student union at DBS College, says.
The biometric system was made compulsory in all colleges after the University Grants Commission (UGC) became strict on the issue about three years ago.
“What’s the use when teachers have the liberty to leave college in between? In hilly areas, the condition is pathetic where students travel several kilometers to attend classes only to find the teacher missing,” Himanshu, enrolled with HNB Garhwal University in Srinagar, says.
RK Pathak, a botany professor at Dehradun’s DAV (PG) College and member of Garhwal University Teachers Association (GRUTA), rejects the points raised by students. “Teachers reach to give lectures, but students don’t attend classes. Has there been any incident where students assembled for a class and teacher didn’t turn up?”
“We strictly criticise this system enforced upon us without any consultation. The opinion of students is right, but a teacher has to do ground work to deliver lecture and for that, no infrastructure and capacity building is being done. First, the government should address these issues,” GRUTA general secretary DK Tyagi says.
But Rawat sticks to his stand that the ‘first priority’ is to have biometric system in all colleges. “Ensuring attendance of students also needs focus and we will work on those lines,” he asserts.