The Maharashtra’s school education department put its ‘selfie’ initiative to curb drop-outs on hold indefinitely on Wednesday. This is following teachers’ protests against the initiative, which asked them to take selfies with students every week and upload them online.
After meeting teachers and chief minister Devandra Fadnavis in the morning, state education minister Vinod Tawde announced, “We will stay the selfie initiative till the department irons out the problems in its implementation.”
Tawde said the initiative backfired because it was misinterpreted by the district-level education officials. “Teachers were wrongly instructed by the officers,” said Tawde.
Teachers were supposed to take selfies only with selected students — those belonging to migrant families and attending school irregularly. But officials asked teachers to take pictures with all students. Even the government resolution issued in November wrongly states that teachers must take pictures of all students in groups of 10.
Because of this goof-up, teachers tried uploading several pictures on the mobile app designed for this initiative and slowed it down. “We will now brief our officers properly to ensure that they understand the objectives of the initiative and then implement it again,” said Tawde.
Teachers demanded that the department must make some other arrangements to upload selfies and upgrade the app. “We don’t mind taking pictures but uploading them onto the mobile app took four to five hours,” said Anil Bornare, a teacher of Swami Muktananda High School, Chembur, and member of the state teachers’ association.
They have even demanded that department must provide WiFi facilities in schools or give Internet data packs to teachers. “Many teachers don’t have Android phones or 4G packs,” said Uday Nare, a teacher of Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri. “If the government wants us to take part in the initiative, they should provide access to Internet.”