A plat­form that tracks the achieve­ment of stu­dents from Class I to X in Kar­nataka will go live this June, writes

The Economic Times - - Saturday Feature -

Ben­galuru: A year after the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources De­vel­op­ment pro­posed a project called AS­MITA — All Schools Mon­i­tor­ing In­di­vid­ual Trac­ing Anal­y­sis — to keep track of the progress of every stu­dent funded with pub­lic money, Congress-ruled Kar­nataka is on the verge of putting in place a work­ing sys­tem to do just that.

In keep­ing with its premier place­ment as the IT and e-gov­er­nance state, the pri­mary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment has al­ready en­rolled every one of the 1.16 crore stu­dents in the state from Class I to X, study­ing in gov­ern­ment, aided and pri­vate schools onto a sin­gle on­line plat­form.

“The pri­vate schools have also co­op­er­ated in full to com­plete this enrollment. Each stu­dent has been given a nine-digit num­ber that will en­able us to keep track of his and her aca­demic ca­reer all through school­ing, en­able on­line trans­fer of cer­tifi­cates, on­line pro­mo­tions and give us data to en­sure that each one of them gets what they need to ex­cel,” Sarva Shik­sha Ab­hiyan project di­rec­tor PC Jaf­fer, who is also hold­ing charge as com­mis­sioner of pub­lic in­struc­tion, told ET.

The data col­lec­tion and putting to­gether of mul­ti­ple soft­ware used by var­i­ous schools to en­roll their stu­dents was a la­bo­ri­ous process that took over a year and a half. The work is now com­plete and the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment is all set to take it for­ward to achieve the aims of AS­MITA and track the aca­demic achieve­ments of the stu­dent from the com­ing aca­demic year in June.

Kar­nataka’s nine-digit num­ber is a de­par­ture from the sys­tem that is used in other states so far, as di­rected by the cen­tral min­istry. Ini­tially, Kar­nataka was also us­ing the same 17-digit Uni­fied District In­for­ma­tion for Ed­u­ca­tion (UDISE) num­bers that iden­ti­fied the stu­dent through district, block and school code, be­sides year of ad­mis­sion. How­ever, this sys­tem, while just record­ing basic in­for­ma­tion like the stu­dent’s name, fa­ther’s name and so on, has the prob­lem of not al­low­ing the stu­dent to be tracked if he or she changes school.

“Our nine-digit num­ber tracks the stu­dent, wher­ever he or she goes. The prin­ci­pal at the new school just has to go on­line to get all his or her records, which we will keep in a digi-locker. So, if the marks that the stu­dent scored in Class III in the first math­e­mat­ics test is needed, it will be in­stantly avail­able and will re­flect the path the stu­dent’s learn­ing took,” pro­gramme of­fi­cer and as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of pub­lic in­struc­tion Pu­rushothama Ku­mar ex­plained. “We have moved from STS (stu­dent track­ing sys­tem) in other states to SATS (stu­dent achieve­ment track­ing sys­tem) for the first time in the coun­try.” AS­MITA was con­ceived with the thought of us­ing Aad­haar num­bers to track the stu­dents. Since Aad­haar enrollment is still go­ing on in Kar­nataka, the depart­ment de­cided to use ran­dom nine-digit num­bers, which can be later linked with Aad­haar.

“We made a pre­sen­ta­tion of the whole project to MHRD sec­re­tary Anil Swarup. If this model is na­tion­ally adopted, we will make the nec­es­sary change to our nine-digit num­ber to bring it in line with the en­tire coun­try,” Jaf­fer said.

Swarup, who is tour­ing all states to study the var­i­ous sys­tems in place, tweeted his ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the ef­forts of Kar­nataka’s ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment. “I have al­ready cov­ered seven states, I will cover the rest in about two to three months. Kar­nataka is do­ing some very good things, un­doubt­edly. I plan to see the good schemes in all states then work out which of them can be scaled up na­tion­ally,” Swarup told ET. Kar­nataka has al­ready made it manda­tory for all gov­ern­ment and aided schools to en­ter the at­ten­dance records of the stu­dents on­line every month. The Con­tin­u­ous Com­pre­hen­sive Eval­u­a­tion (CCE) sys­tem, where the stu­dent is tested six times in a year to check for aca­demic com­pe­tence, will also be en­tered on­line. “We have also made it manda­tory that at­ten­dance and CCE records of all the chil­dren ad­mit­ted through Right to Ed­u­ca­tion in pri­vate schools be put into this sys­tem. The gov­ern­ment will re­im­burse their fees only if this is com­plied with. This will cover about 65 lakh of the 1.16 crore stu­dents. We hope that slowly, this will lead the pri­vate schools to get used to the sys­tem and en­ter de­tails of all their stu­dents,” Jaf­fer said.

The soft­ware for it, de­vel­oped by a pri­vate com­pany, ICT In­fra­con, was funded by Sudha Murty’s In­fosys Foun­da­tion. Ini­tially, just a re­port­ing mech­a­nism of the STS was de­vel­oped, but with in­puts from Jaf­fer and pri­mary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary Ajay Seth, this has now been de­vel­oped into a man­age­ment strat­egy. “Sarva Shik­sha Ab­hiyan, so far, was us­ing the STS data to just do basic plan­ning like how many uni­forms needed, how many books and so on. With SATS, how­ever, I will have data on how many chil­dren study­ing in Class II have got C grade, or be­low av­er­age, in Maths. I can plan in­ter­ven­tion like ad­di­tional coach­ing for th­ese stu­dents, help them get bet­ter,” Jaf­fer said.

The data will also be use­ful in iden­ti­fy­ing how many chil­dren drop out of school, where and when, which will di­rect in­ter­ven­tions to bring them back. There has been some con­fu­sion on the num­ber of chil­dren who are out of school (OOSC) cur­rently in Kar­nataka, with the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment pro­fess­ing a fig­ure of slightly over 9,000, even as the MHRD gave fig­ures of 1.20 lakh in Par­lia­ment. Of­fi­cials point out that once the SATS is work­ing in full, there will be no scope for dif­fer­ent fig­ures and all ef­forts to take cor­rec­tive mea­sures can be prop­erly planned.

Kar­nataka has gen­er­ated user ids for school prin­ci­pals, clus­ter and block de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cers to en­ter the data into the sys­tem.

“To en­sure pro­tec­tion of the stu­dent’s pri­vacy, only spe­cific peo­ple are al­lowed ac­cess to the sys­tem; it is not open to the pub­lic. Par­ents of the con­cerned stu­dent, how­ever, will also be given user ids and they can track or utilise the on­line data, only for their child,” Ku­mar ex­plained.

There is also a plan mooted by the state’s Cen­tre for e-Gov­er­nance to link up this on­line sys­tem with the rev­enue, back­ward classes and so­cial wel­fare departments to en­able seam­less gen­er­a­tion of caste and in­come cer­tifi­cates as well as schol­ar­ships for el­i­gi­ble stu­dents.

“Cur­rently, all this data is in dif­fer­ent servers of each depart­ment. We are de­vel­op­ing the ar­chi­tec­ture to let them talk to each other and flow the data di­rectly. It should be in place in about three months,” e-Gov­er­nance CEO Darpan Jain told ET. All the departments are dis­cussing plans to de­velop apps that will en­able par­ents and ed­u­ca­tion­ists to get all th­ese records on the mo­bile phone it­self, in the spirit of Dig­i­tal In­dia.

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