UNICEF on Wednesday launched the Sindh School Daily Monitoring System in Sindh that would help the School Education and Literacy Department in monitoring and reporting on teachers, staff and students’ attendance to school.

Funded by the European Union with technical support from UNICEF, the App will contribute to reducing the number of drop-out from school by tracking and monitoring school attendance in real-time. The App would alert parents, caregivers, and school administration through SMS messages in case a student skips school so they can follow up.

“School attendance is key to ensure that all children are in school and learn,” Sindh’s Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah said during a ceremony at Noor Mohammad Village School in Lyari, Karachi. “The App, which will be deployed in government schools across the province, will transform the way we record and keep track of school attendance. When children are not in school, parents and caregivers will now be notified on the same day, which will help us reduce the numbers of children who drop out of school,” he added.

Thanks to the SSDMS application, schools will now register children by using the National Identity Card and mobile phone numbers of their parents or legal guardians. Each student will receive a card with a unique Quick Response (QR) code that contains the student’s data, photograph and family details. Teachers will download the App on their smart phones and use it to scan the students’ QR codes and record who is present and who is not every moming. “The European Union is pleased to partner with the the Government of Sindh and UNICEF to ensure that all children fully realise their right to quality education”, said the Head of Cooperation, Ovidiu Mic.

“Human capital development is among the key policy priorities of the European Union, globally and in Pakistan. We hope that together we can have a real impact in providing better opportunities for all girls and boys in Sindh to progress and engage in productive employment.”

“Successive periods of school closures have disrupted education in Pakistan over the past two years, resulting in learning losses,” said Dr Inoussa Kabore, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Pakistan. “It may have led more one million girls and boys to drop out of school in the country, where 22.8 million children were already out-of-school – including about 6.5 million in Sindh. This setback makes UNICEF’s long-standing cooperation with Sindh’s School Education & Literacy Department all the more important. Together we will continue to develop and implement innovative solutions that help enroll and retain every girl and boy in school, with support from the European Union.”

In a first phase, the new App will be used in 30 government schools, one in each district of Sindh, as part of a learning test. It will then be rolled out across the province. The App is launched under the Sindh Technical Assistance for Development through Enhanced Education Programme. With funding from the European Union and technical support from UNICEF, STA DEEP aims to provide the Department with technical assistance to build more responsive education systems that can provide equitable access to quality education for every girl and boy in the province. One of the components of STA-DEEP is school monitoring. The programme previously developed a portable biometric device which monitors teachers’ attendance in more than 40,000 schools and nearly 120,000 teachers across the province.

 

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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