Stepping up: Education department installs biometric system to ensure attendance

Officials claim it will soon be introduced in schools to ensure presence of teachers and students.
PESHAWAR:  Acting on the directives of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government, working groups held meetings and proposed recommendations to improve elementary and secondary education in the province.
The recommendations include introducing a global positioning satellite (GPS)-based biometric system (BMS) to ensure 100% attendance. The system, which has already been installed at the education department as part of a pilot project, will soon be introduced in schools.
Officials said working groups consisted of educationists and experts who proposed reshaping the education sector to provide a better environment for students. While other suggestions were also pored over, group members focused on ensuring full attendance.
“It (BMS) will help obtain data pertaining to attendance of teachers and students. This is the first time such an initiative is being undertaken, but the department is awaiting approval from Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, who has been apprised of the recommendations,” said an official requesting anonymity.

The BMS mechanism will be followed by a file tracking system wherein all records of the education department and schools will be computerised. This will ensure availability of every record at all times.
Suggestions to revamp educational boards across the province were also made, but amendments in the board act must be made prior to their implementation, said the official.
Another elementary and secondary education department official said a policy is being formulated to set the criteria for promoting teachers based on their performance, attendance and grades of students. A teacher’s contribution to other education-related activities will also be judged.
“We plan to introduce a merit-based permanent policy for posting and transfer of teachers, because posting and transfers were done on political affiliation in the past. This will not happen in the future,” claimed the official.
Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Muhammad Atif said donors were prepared to help the department install voice recognition systems to ensure 100% attendance at schools and education departments across the province.
“The process will be completed in different phases and will later be extended to other districts,” he said. The minister claimed a few commercial organisations in addition to donor agencies have offered to provide the facility free of cost.
“We are committed. If we are unable to find donors, we will not let financial constraints put an end to this project. We will execute the project by allocating funds for it in the next Annual Development Programme,” added Atif.