The School Education and Literacy Department (SELD) on Wednesday officially launched the Sindh Education Management Information System (SEMIS), a system for better data collection, school profiling and perfect planning regarding students and teachers.
The opening ceremony was held in a local hotel in Karachi, in which Education and Culture Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah, UNICEF Education Manager Vanessa Lee, Reform Support Unit (RSU), Chief Program Manager Junaid Hameed Samo and officers participated.
Briefing the ceremony, RSU Chief said that through the Annual School Census of around 45000 state-run in Sindh province, the SEMIS has a key role in better planning and decision making through various indicators such as finding the student-teacher ratio, budget expenditures, and the performance of the schools at the District and Taluk levels.
He said that this program with seven years of data from 2015 to 2022 has been divided into three parts which include planning, better data acquisition and school clustering. The Sindh Education Management Information System is being led by the Reform Support Unit, a subsidiary of the education department, while financial and technical support has been provided by the European Union and UNICEF.
Speaking on the occasion, Education and Culture Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah said that today one of my dreams has come true. “I wished to digitize the data of the government schools and now we can get all the required data in the required form with one click. The system would help the authorities to take correct and timely decisions”.
He said that through this information system, the statistics of schools, students, and teachers as well as all the school profiles can be easily monitored. The details of the school buildings, all the facilities and even the budget expenses can be known in real time.
Mr Shah said that the credit goes to the Sindh government for keeping this system in public reach so that cross-verification of the figures could be done. Public access to this system will help in the effectiveness and reality of this system. Until the involvement of society, there will be no improvements in state-run schools. The public will not only be able to see the data in this system but will also be able to express their opinion there through which the data will be verified.
He said that today was the opening of the initial application through which the officers of the department will input data. As soon as the data collection process is completed the system will be kept open on the website.
Talking to the media, Shah expressed his anger at the middle management including the DEOs of the education department, and said that officers at the District and Taluk levels are not visiting the schools. Despite having staff, the DEOs have not removed the rainwater from the schools in their area till now.
“We received complaints that the DEOs are also making postings of new teachers on the basis of likes and dislikes. Such officers will be dismissed from their jobs for violating the rules,” he said, adding that the promotions of teachers will now depend on the performance of students. The teacher who cannot perform will be fired.
He said that all the legitimate demands of the teachers’ associations have been accepted. Now they will have to fulfill one demand and that demand is that they should educate the children.
Responding to a question he said that the purchase of furniture has been decentralized to a lower level. The DEOs and directors have been instructed to buy furniture for children but they are yet to buy the furniture despite the release of funds. “I will be visiting the field, if I find that the officers performing, the department would take strict action against them”
He said that the department of education is one of the largest departments, combining its subordinate organizations at one is a difficult task. However, the formation of education policy and recruitment of teachers were major tasks that we completed. The last seven to eight months have been spent on the recruitment process, research-based data collection, and policy work, now fieldwork is to be done.
On the occasion, the RSU Director of Research Aftab Alam said that Scholarships are given by the government to deserving students studying in schools. Fund transfer, data acquisition, and student attendance can also be monitored in real-time through the SEMIS dashboard. This will enable the accurate provision of data and efficient use of government funds. Through this information system, the Girls Stipend Program of the students studying in the government schools of the province will be monitored. This will also help in reducing the drop-out ratio of girls.