A phone a day keeps absenteeism at bay

The simple stratagem of making telephone calls to government schools in Chhattisgarh every day has led to a remarkable jump in attendance of teachers and students

Raipur: Government schools are notorious for both the students and the teachers skipping classes – for different sets of reasons, of course.

This year, instead of going for hi-tech solutions to the twin problems of low attendance of students and chronic absenteeism among the teachers like GPS-enabled mobile phones or e-attendance, the education department adopted a simple strategy. All the DEOs (District Education Officers) were directed to randomly make telephone calls to the principals or headmasters of 10 schools in the district and ask for the names of the teachers present and the number of students attending classes. Heads of institutions supplying wrong information are severely punished.

Attendance up

This simple stratagem has worked wonders. The average attendance in schools has grown from 50 per cent to 75-80 per cent and the teachers are now wary of taking French leave.

The phone calls are supplemented with surprise inspections. DEOs have been asked to visit schools without notice at least one day every week. Many such visits have led to the DEOs finding locks hanging at the main gates of the schools.

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