AI-based camera attendance of students, teachers starts in schools

PESHAWAR:An Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based camera attendance devices installation was started in the government schools for live attendance of students and teachers.

Zariful Mani, Managing Director Elementary Schools Education Foundation (ESEF), in a statement, here on Sunday said that AI-based camera attendance devices in the Foundation schools would help ensure the quality of education and improve the performance of the students.

He said the School Management Information System was developed by ESEF e- governance cell to ensure transparency, quality and easy transfer of scholarship amount to the partners smoothly.

He appreciated the whole team for turning around the programme, which went wrong due to mismanagement in the past.

He said it was for the first time in the country’s history that such a system was installed in the schools. The project would “discourage dropouts of students” and ensure the timely start of classes and teachers’ attendance.

The Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) 2021 survey has revealed that there were about 22.8 million out-of-school children (OSC) in the country, including 4.7 million children aged between 5 to 16 years in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The survey revealed that the OSC included 2.9 million girls, out of which one million belonged to merged tribal districts. Similarly, 74.4 percent of girls and 38.5 percent of boys are out-of-school in the province.

Besides 77 percent reported OSC in Palas Kolai, 70 percent in Upper Kohistan and 69 percent in Lower Kohistan, there are reports of about 61 percent of such children in Torghar, 55pc in Shangla, 53 percent in Lakki Marwat and 51 percent each in Tank and Batagram districts.

In merged areas, 66 percent of children are out-of-school in North Waziristan, 63 percent in Bajaur, 61 percent in South Waziristan, 51 percent each in Mohmand and Khyber, and 47 percent each in Kurram and Orakazai and bringing them under school net was a big challenge for the provincial government.

Taking cognizance of the high ratio of OSC in the country including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the BISP has started Education Scholarship programs to motivate parents to enroll their children and discourage dropout rate.

Under the BISP, Rs 1500 per three months were being provided to each male student and Rs 2,000 to girls at the primary level, Rs 2500 for boys and Rs 3000 for girls at the secondary level, whereas Rs 3,500 for boys and Rs 4,000 per girl at higher secondary school level.

Since the inception of the BISP, 9.4 million children were enrolled and Rs 40 billion were disbursed under BISP’s Education Scholarship program.

Syed Shahab Khan, Senior Planning Officer, Education Department said that a “Rs 3.7 billion project” had been planned for providing educational stipends to learners of class 1-12 and Rs 500 million for “school bags and stationery in the merged areas”.

He said 200 alternate learning pathways centers would be opened for children aged 9-16 for OSC while Rs 3 billion would be spent on converting two-room schools to six rooms besides converting mosque schools into schools.

The construction of 100 new primary schools was proposed for the upcoming fiscal year while 150 middle schools to secondary schools in settled districts would be built.

He said a “one billion rupees project” was proposed for the establishment of an early childhood education programme, to be executed next fiscal year.

Shahram Khan Tarkai, Minister for Education, told reporter that the second shift in government schools was started for OSC.

He claimed that 850,000 students were enrolled this year in KP, adding that COVID-19 was the main reason behind the increase in drop-out of students.

About 50,000 students were enrolled in 1,443 second-shift schools. He said Stars of KP, Rehamatul Alamin and ETEA merit scholarships were launched to increase the student’s enrollment.