To keep a check on the rising number of dropouts from state-run schools, the Maharashtra government has decided to go the 'selfie' route.
The state school education department has issued a Government Resolution (GR) directing teachers to take selfies with students to track absent or irregular students and to mark their attendance.
The GR asks teachers to click a selfie with students in groups of 10 on the first two Mondays of every month and upload it on to the Systematic Administrative Reforms for Achieving Learning by Students (SARAL), that handles the state's education database, with the students' names and Aadhaar card numbers.
Further, the GR states that the school teachers should inform the higher authorities in the education department about the students who are irregular. The officials will already have the details of the irregular students, and hence can take some policy decisions to bring them back to school.
The State Education department has also identified two more categories, due to which students drop out — when families move within the state and when families move to Maharashtra. To parents moving within the state, the GR asks them to arrange for other alternatives such as temporary hostels or staying with relatives, where it is possible for the student to continue schooling. But if it is absolutely imperative to move, the GR asks that a 'Education Guarantee Card' to be issued to them that can be sent to the new school administration via WhatsApp.
The selfie initiative is to start from January 2017.
A report by The Indian Express claims that the Maharashtra government has followed the directives from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in conducting a survey to record dropouts and Out of School Students (OoSS). Their data analysis of grade-wise enrollment of two years (2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015) shows that as many as 3.87 lakh students have dropped out of schools.
Meanwhile, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2014 the dropout rate in Maharashtra has been around nine percent, as against 15 percent nationwide.
With inputs from PTI