The Telegraph
Thursday , April 24 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Biometric boon for govt cradles in Ranchi

Truant teachers and students may hate it, but real-time attendance monitoring will finally be a reality in a bunch of Jharkhand middle schools.

Chief secretary R.S. Sharma, who has been instrumental in ensuring that the Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS) is implemented in the state, said 10 government cradles had been shortlisted for the purpose on a pilot basis.

The primary objective, he stressed, was to monitor if teachers were holding classes between 9am and 5pm, and whether the strength of students was good.

Sharma held a meeting with government officials on Tuesday to chalk out modalities for installation of the system at Jagannathpur, BMP Doranda, Dhurwa, Hindpiri (both Urdu and Hindi sections), Lalgutwa, Tetri, Namkum, Karamtoli and Kantatoli middle schools.

“The launch of the biometric system has been due for sometime. Biometric attendance is a data-based analytical system to map real-time attendance of teachers and students through fingerprints. We were unable to start AEBAS in schools in the first week of April owing to official reasons. Yesterday (Tuesday), we received 100 machines to be installed at district headquarters, block offices and schools,” Sharma told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

He claimed that the system would be ready for use in the capital schools within a couple of days. “Once teachers and students start using the biometric devices, functioning of schools will become more transparent.”

The system comprises special fingerprint recording devices, the cumulative cost of which is Rs 3 lakh. All students and teachers have been provided with Aadhaar registration numbers. They will have to feed last six digits into a device and then give their thumb impression.

In March, the IT department — the nodal unit for monitoring the system — had organised a workshop on Aadhaar-based biometric attendance for school principals and teachers.

Sharma further pointed out that biometric attendance would also ensure effective monitoring of the midday meal schemes. “On several occasions, children are forced to go without lunch because Mata Samiti members do not come to work. Real-time tabs on attendance will help stem the problem.”

Jayant Mishra, Ranchi’s district superintendent of education, said a nodal officer from the HRD department would monitor attendance and they were working on a war footing to install the machines. “We were unable to start so far owing to technical glitches. But now, we want the chief secretary to inaugurate the system before he leaves our state,” Mishra added.

Sharma is expected to leave Ranchi on April 30 because he is being deputed as IT secretary under the Government of India.

While teachers are cautious, students are curious.

“We are often unable to complete our syllabus because teachers don’t come to classes. We have heard that biometric attendance will stop them from doing so. It will be good to see our subject teachers in class,” said an eighth grader of the middle school in Karamtoli.

24Ran bio: The government middle school in Hindpiri will be one of the 10 cradles to adopt biometric attendance. Picture by Hardeep Singh