At least 4,000 teachers fudged attendance data

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Some 4,000 absentee teachers somehow managed to falsify their attendance data over the past two months, data compiled by the provincial Elementary and Secondary Education Department’s Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) and online action management system showed.

However, teachers across K-P criticised the role of IMU and online action management system, saying that these bodies were submitting incorrect data to the government just to protect their jobs.

According to the education department’s data, the online action management system and IMU helped decrease teacher’s absenteeism in public schools by three per cent over the same period. Most absentee teachers, data showed, worked in the schools of rural districts.

The online action management system was first introduced in September last year in Peshawar and Mardan districts. After the success of the pilot project, the provincial government expanded it to cover the entire province in December last year.

Initially, teachers protested against this system and they pointed out various flaws.

However, president of the Peshawar chapter of the All Primary Teachers Association (APTA) Azizullah Khan criticised the system and said that officials of the IMU and online action management system inflated figures and submitted incorrect data to the department concerned just to demonstrate their effectiveness and protect their jobs.

He said that the new system was unnecessary in the presence of hundreds of officials who were working to monitor teachers performance. He said that the new system obstructed teachers’ performance.

“The government expropriates teachers to work in its anti-polio immunisation campaign while a large number of them performed examination duties … IMU officials reported them ‘absent’ from schools, deducting cash from their salaries … This is an outright injustice,” Khan said.

The provincial government’s adviser on E&SED Usama Zarif told The Express Tribune that since K-P government implemented its online action management in December last year, the number of absentee teachers had declined by as much as 3%, from 15% to 12 %, recovering nearly Rs2.7 million from such teachers’ salaries.

Terming the automated action management system a step forward, he said that it collected data and helped the government take appropriate action in view of various indicators.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2017.