The self-portrait sometimes criticised as narcissistic has found a novel use – as a disciplinary tool in rural Uttar Pradesh.
Teachers at 140 government-run primary and upper primary schools in Naugarh area of Chandauli have been reporting for work on time after the district administration launched “attendance-with-selfie” drive in the first week of February.
As soon as they get to school, teachers take a selfie with students and day’s newspaper and share it on a WhatsApp group called attendance with selfie.
“Attendance with a selfie has resulted intremendous improvement in attendanceat primary and junior schools across Naugarh block,” district magistrate Kumar Prashant said.
Faced with complaints of teachers playing truant in remote areas, Prashant roped in social activist Navin Krishna Rai to conduct a survey of primary schools in the Naugarh block.
“Many teachers were causal about attending schools in remote areas. Some teachers posted in far-flung partsdid not bother to take classes. The survey brought forth the stark reality of teachers’ attendance,” Rai said.
Rai, who is now a volunteer-cum-coordinator of the project, advised Kumar to turn to technology to improve the scenario.
An attendance with a selfie group was set up on WhatsApp, with all teachers inthe block as its members.
A basic shiksha adhikari (district education officer), Santosh Kumar Singh, was named the group superviser while the Naugarh education officer anda nyaya panchayat resource centre (NPRC) official were asked to monitor the attendance.
A part of the nation-wide Sarva Shikhsa Abhiyan (education for all), an NPRC is responsible for conducting cultural and academic activities and also helps teachers improve learning levels of students.
“There has been a lot of improvement inthe attendance of teachers after the drive,” Singh said.Buoyed by the success, Kumar plans to extend the campaign to all 1,470 primary and upper primary schools in the district by month-end and held a meeting on Monday to discuss the modalities with education officers.
Teachers, too, are happy clicking themselves.“This is a very good initiative. We take selfie with students and the newspaper and post it on the group. Children, too, rush to be part of the selfie,” said Bhola Pal, a teacher at Dumariya primary school. Who says striking a pose is always narcissistic?