Students missing school for 30 days to be striked off register

Pranita Roy
Sunday, 20 August 2017

“We have asked them to honestly put names of students, who have not attended school for a month at a stretch in the dropbox, from which we can calculate the actual rate of out-of-school students,” said Nand Kumar.

PUNE: Students of government-run school who missschool for over 30 days will find their names striked off the register as the State government has released a Government Resolution (GR) to this effect. The step is being taken to regularise the attendance of students at schools.

“This practice will help us monitor schools, which have been falsely disbursing money from the government in the name of students. A teacher is paid in proportion to the students studying in a class - more the number of students, higher is the pay. These schools will be now accountable for number of students admitted in their schools,” said Nand Kumar, Principal Secretary of Maharashtra School and State Department.

“We have asked them to honestly put names of students, who have not attended school for a month at a stretch in the dropbox, from which we can calculate the actual rate of out-of-school students,” said Kumar.

When asked how the government will monitor whether schools have been honest in giving names, Kumar said, “About 25 per cent schools in the State will be soon directed to install biometric attendance systems in the school to have authentic proof of students’ presence. There are chances when schools will say the machine is not working, but they cannot fake a student’s attendance if the machine is working.” Speaking about the cases of migratory students, Kumar said that schools have the responsibility to keep track of their students and verify the reason of their absence for long duration.

Activists not happy
Expressing disappointment about the GR, RTE activist Mukund Kirdat said that this will have a negative impact on children of sugarcane labourers, who relocate along with their parents during harvesting season. “The main reason of absenteeism is poverty and migration. In case of these kids, often schools fail to seek the right reasons,” he said.

“Earlier as well, the State government had come out with a rule that teachers must click a photograph with students, which will be a proof of students existence in the school. They had also asked students to enroll their names with their Aadhaar card number. These superficial rules will not make a difference unless the government addresses the real issues in schools,” said Kirdat. Kirdat further added that it has also been observed that some schools hide real number of students on roll.

The problem of ghost students
Deputy Education Officer of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Shubhangi Chauhan said the move will help curb ghost students shown in many schools. “There are cases wherein a student has taken admission at two places. In order to not harm the reputation, the previous school doesn’t delete the student’s name. But now the schools will have to submit student’s transfer of school information online on SARAL,” said Chauhan.

In case of a migratory student, a school should not randomly cancel their registration and instead verify the reason of his/her absence by physically investigating it. “School officials must have a family visit. If the student is not found in the given address, they must fill a Panchnama form with a sign of the neighbours to confirm that the family has shifted to another place,” said Chauhan. Chauhan further added if they find that the student is unable to attend school for other reasons, the school must take up the responsibility to facilitate him/her.

WHAT THE GR SAYS
- The resolution reads that according to Right to Education Act, if a student is absent from school for over 30 days, he/she is presumed to be out-of-school. 
- Names of students continuously absent for a month would be put in a dropbox in the student portal on SARAL. 
- It also states that if a student resumes school after sometime, the facility to enroll the student back in the school is also available in the dropbox.

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