'E-monitoring in primary schools falls flat'

Riadul Karim . Dhaka | Update:

The e-monitoring system has failed to provide anything new to the primary education. Most of the data that is being uploaded by the inspection officers is a routine work. They are only focused to increase the number of their inspected schools and their visits.

The observation came from a report of the primary and mass education ministry. The report was recently submitted with the parliamentary standing committee related to the primary and mass education ministry.

Directorate of Primary Education officials said, e-monitoring is a digital system of conducting school inspection by using a specific software. It is an android application. The field level education officers collect real time school monitoring data by smart phones or tablets and instantly upload the report online. The report is then available instantly on the web-based dashboard of www.dpe.gov.bd for the head teachers and different administrative level officers.

The focus of the system is to improve the quality of education to the desired level though inspection.

According to the ministry’s evaluation of e-monitoring, the inspecting officers failed to properly evaluate the quality of the headmasters on the basis of school’s class work, field planning, following lesson plan, and learning.

There was also no follow-up on previous education officers' recommendation and comments on the programmes like Mid-day Meal and One Day One Word.

It looks like the inspection officials are more focused to complete their field visit requirements.

At first stage, the system was taken up as pilot project in Kaliakoir and Kapashia of Gazipur and Saturia and Ghior of Manikganj districts and in Sadar upazila of Meherpur.

The e-monitoring system was also introduced in nine upazilas at the second stage and in another 26 upazilas on the third stage. The Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) in collaboration with the Save the Children has introduced the system to primary education.

A total of 128 education officers uploaded data of 846 schools online following their visit in 2015-16 fiscal. In 2017-18 fiscal, 1,589 officials uploaded data of 15,890 schools online whereas 1,240 officials uploaded data of 45,056 schools in the next fiscal.

On 13 December last year, the government declared paperless school inspections in the country. Currently almost all the school inspection data of the field level education officials get uploaded online depending on the availability of server facility.

Till July this year, a total of 3,351 officials uploaded inspection report of 19,752 schools online.

Officials said, tablets are provided to all DPE officials and field level inspection officials. They also get internet data facility while working under this project. A thana education officer has to visit 5 schools whereas an assistant thana education officer has to visit 10 schools every month.

One of the thana education officers told Prothom Alo that earlier they had to submit written reports. "Now we have to submit it online."

Earlier they did not have any facility to submit separate comment. Recently this facility was introduced in the software, he added.

He also said that it was not that the online inspection report was of great benefit. "However, it is also beneficial in some cases," he added.

DPE director (IMD) Badiar Rahman said, "The inspection currently takes place in real time."

"Taking the online inspection report into cognizance, authorities will take necessary steps depending on whether the classroom is effective or not, teachers are fulfilling their responsibilities or not," he said to Prothom Alo.

He also said that the e-monitoring programme began just a year ago.

"It is still in a developing stage. Some objectives of the e-monitoring system were achieved. There might be some problems which will be resolved soon," he added.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Saimul Huda

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