How this employer harnessed era to tackle teacher absenteeism

One can never undermine the position of a terrific teacher in a student’s existence. They help to form and mildew young, impressionable minds who will form the pool of expertise in the close to future. But in a rustic like India, wherein trainer absenteeism is a huge trouble that plagues the schooling sector, outcomes are compromised. And this reflects within the numbers as well.

Only fifty nine percent of kids in Class III can study and recognize a passage, according to the government’s National Achievement Survey, a determine that may be progressed with the aid of appropriate, great teaching.

“The reality that teacher profits does not seem to be a issue in teacher attendance is giant seeing that instructors in rural personal number one faculties in India make one-zone to at least one-fifth as tons as government faculty teachers,” says Prema Nedungadi, Director of Amrita Centre of Research in Analytics & Technologies for Education, an academic generation initiative of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, a pan-India multi-disciplinary studies institution.

Harish Singh, a 34-yr-antique teacher in a small government college in Uddalka, a village in Uttarakhand, changed into absent for 40 of the 2 hundred operating days within the 2017 instructional year. And his motives are regular of a variety of teachers’ in such small cities and villages – professional instructional obligations that involved an outstation tour, absent without purpose, departmental paintings, and personal motives. “I stay in the five km radius of college; I requested the students to visit me if they want to assist during the weekends to make up for the overlooked training every so often,” he adds.

To efficiently address the high instructor absenteeism price while enhancing the academic results in far-flung villages of Uttarakhand, Prema, and her group advanced the mobile software attendance. They used the prevailing infrastructure of generation— virtual connectivity and mobile phones— to connect all government college instructors really via WhatsApp to facilitate the exchange of observing plans, scholar progress reports and logs of extracurricular sports.

These technologies endorsed teachers and coordinators to share assets and pedagogical hints with each different, accordingly main to a decreased sense of isolation and multiplied experience of empowerment amongst teachers.
The want

More than 1. Five million authorities colleges are unfolding across India; 192 million children acquire education through the government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (training for all) program.

According to the Union Human Resource Development Ministry’s website, 1,87,006 number one schools (Classes I-V) and sixty-two,988 upper number one (Classes VI-VIII) schools are strolling with fewer than 30 students. Besides, 7,166 faculties had zero enrolments, even as 87,000 schools have an unmarried instructor. Overall, the numbers suggest the dismal country of small colleges in India.

“Many schools, specifically primary faculties, lack the specified wide variety of teachers. The problem is exacerbated in rural number one colleges with the most effective one to 4 teachers. This frequently effects in reduced instructional get admission to and lower tiers of learning that, in flip, discourage youngsters from attending school,” says Prema.

Attendance and overall performance of students in rural colleges are some other yardstick to measure the duty of teachers in the faculties of the one. Teacher absenteeism is tough to reveal as correct administrative statistics of each teacher and college students might not be maintained and, in a few cases, may be falsified as instructors cowl for themselves.

According to a World Bank 2016 document, India’s rural colleges spend Rs 440 crore, consistent with year, in salaries to teachers who are absent from lecture rooms. Monitoring instructors are extra efficient as “hiring more teachers increases the trainer absence price, which in addition increases the expenses”, the researchers stated.
The innovation

Prema, a researcher and an educationist whose recognition areas consist of getting entry to to digital schooling in rural regions, become cognizant of the issues related to high teacher absenteeism rate. Hence to scale back this fashion, in 2014, she started to examine methods via which era may want to help instructors. She commenced her pilot project in Uttarakhand’s 54 government schools in Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts.

Three years later, her team labored with the colleges to put in force using Android pills and tracking apps including attendance and WhatsApp in an try to lessen absenteeism in schools and also boom instructors’ effectiveness and enhance pupil overall performance.

“The cellular telephone-virtual connectivity and reach in rural India had multiplied, and villagers had been acquainted with social media networking structures like WhatsApp. Children, too, had been interested in gamified mastering and we used this as a motivator for schooling,” she remembers.

Her group met the village panchayats, explaining to them the imaginative and prescient of the task and sought permission from parents and instructors for sharing records on WhatsApp.

“Though there has been preliminary resistance to every day tracking because it concerned greater paintings, teachers commenced valuing the web support as it progressed the coaching and mastering effects,” she says.

Calling it the Amrita Rural India Tablet Education (AmritaRITE) method, Prema’s crew supplied instructors with an Android pill, with a 2G SIM card for online connectivity. Students are given tablets with academic content material which could hook up with the academics’ tablets through Bluetooth. The teachers’ capsules have the WhatsApp and attendance cell apps mounted.

Four to five villages were grouped into a cluster and every cluster had one AmritaRITE team member who monitored the educational activities, conducted periodical wonder visits to colleges for physical inspection, and distributed drugs for WhatsApp verbal exchange.

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