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