In a bid to bring down the number of school dropouts in the state’s zilla parishad schools, the school education department has asked teachers to take selfies with students on Mondays and upload them on the government database, SARAL. This initiative is part of the department’s effort to bring down the dropout rate in the state by 5% to 10% this year.
A government resolution (GR) issued on Thursday states that from January 2017, teachers will have to divide students into groups of 10 and take selfies with each group in the beginning of the week. The names of the students in the picture along with their Aadhaar card number will then have to be uploaded on SARAL.
After two Mondays in a row in a month, teachers will then have to take selfies only with those students who fail to attend class regularly. The names of these students will then have to be reported to the education officers, stated the GR.
“In this way, teachers and education officers will be able to identify the students who play truant,” said Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the department.
According to the department, there are three categories of children who end up dropping out of school. These include: children of migrants workers within Maharashtra, children who live near schools but cannot afford to enroll themselves and children who work as child labourers or beggars.
Although several dropouts were enrolled in schools in the recent surveys conducted by the government, education activists had complained that there was no check on their attendance. “Teachers have succeeded in getting children interested in studying. But in some cases, we have seen that owing to other pressures, children stop coming to school,” said Kumar.
The department has also introduced other mechanisms for reporting dropouts such as education guarantee card that mentions the level children have studied up to. It can also be used instead of school leaving certificate for admission.