Irregularities have been reported in Punjab government’s school enrollment drive. Upon comparing the government data, lower numbers are being reported.
A letter was sent to the School Education Department (SED) as well as to all district education authorities (DEAs) and chief executive officers (CEOs), in order to take action against the discrepancies in the data.
The letter instructed the CEOs to ensure that all enrolled students were tagged according to the targets set for enrollment campaign 2017. The letter was titled as “Decreased Enrollment of Students and Tagging as Compared to Census Data 2016”.
The difference in the number of students enrolled and the number of students in the Punjab government’s database, called the School Information System (SIS), was caused by several factors.
The differences were due to three broader issues, reported the official of SED, who requested anonymity.
Firstly, some schools were missed during the tagging process of SIS. Secondly, absent students’ data wasn’t recorded because of their non-availability. Last but not the least, some spurious data was also submitted during school census, as reported by the officials.
The reason some teachers exaggerate enrollments in their schools is because they were given certain targets by the provincial government. In some areas, teachers enter bogus data when they are unable to meet enrollment targets.
According to Rana Liaquat, General Secretary of Punjab Teachers’ Union (PTU), he acknowledged the issue and said schools were tagging students according to the instructions of the SED. He added that most of the enrollment difference would vanish with the increase in tagged students.
He opened up and said:
A teacher’s job is to teach and making them responsible for enrollment of students was an added burden. This sometimes led to the release of false data as teachers feared punishments.
Dr. Allah Baksh Malink, on the other hand, saw things differently because according to him, some students weren’t recorded by the monitoring system.
We have enrolled more children in schools in Punjab than our target in this year’s campaign. The enrollment target was 11.2 million children and we have enrolled 12.7 million children across Punjab’s schools.
He added that the government is playing its role to ensure that all particulars of children in schools of Punjab would be tagged and made available at three different departments: the Programme Monitoring & Implementation Unit (PMIU), the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and the SED, he informed.
“There is no shortfall and the difference is getting lower as more children are being tagged by the online system. There will be no difference left in one week as all the children get tagged by the system,” he concluded.