Teachers, students and their parents will now be able to track the progress of proposals or complaints sent to the education department, by simply going online.
Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde has announced that the department is in the process of developing software that will allow people to know the exact status of files or proposals pending with the department.
This will help citizens track their files in real-time – they can find out which officer is looking into the proposal or request, the number of days that will be taken to process it, where the file will go next, and whether the file has been accepted or rejected.
The software is being introduced in accordance with chief minister Devendra Fadvanis’ plan to launch a similar application for the state, for the implementation of the Right to Services Act, said Tawde. “The chief minister is very soon going to introduce a law to ensure that public work is completed at the earliest,” said Tawde in a press statement. “Under this law, the state will hold the official responsible in case the work is not completed.”
At present, citizens have to run from pillar to post to track the status of their complaints, said parents and activists. Many citizens have testified to encountering impolite officers, unaware staff members and files caught up in bureaucratic red-tape for years together.
“I had filed a Right to Information query online with the education department a few weeks ago,” said Sharmila Saldanha, a parent from Borivli who recently complained against a school-fee hike. “But the education officers refused to recognise my RTI query, saying that they do not even have computers to check it.”
Saldanha added that all education officers should be trained in technology before the software is introduced.
“In education offices at Charni Road and Jogeshwari, there are hardly two computers in place and only one or two people who know how to run them,” she said.
Education activists said the move will help bring in transparency and accountability to the department. “Once a parent files a complaint with the department, it generally gets lost in a maze. Some of the complaints we have filed have been pending for the past 10 years,” said Jayant Jain, president, Forum for Fairness in Education, an NGO working for education.