Present Madam!

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Hardly anyone of us would have forgotten the daily rigmarole of our teachers taking attendance. Our names, or rather roll numbers would be called out, and we were required to shout at the top of our voices to confirm our presence in the classroom. Sometimes, we would have to even have to stand proxy for some of our friends, who found value in bunking rather than attending classes.

Attendance registers used to, and in several instances continue even today as the central administration system to gauge the time student spends in a classroom. The attendance is religiously marked, collated and reported against a cutoff. If the attendance falls below the stipulated cutoff, the student is reprimanded by being made to attend extra classes, and in extreme cases, even be debarred from exams.

In modern-day pedagogy, attendance are not just about record-keeping. It is a tool to assess interests in subjects, reviewing performance, and understanding traits that underpin learning. It is also a tool to partner with parents by sharing this information, often on realtime basis. The least, but highly significant value comes from knowing that their child is in the class, and not somewhere else – for security matters a lot!

Manual methods of marking attendance are anything but passé. Prone to human errors, lot of effort is subsumed for a mechanical process which remains vulnerable to various influences. Transforming this information into report beyond percentage attendance remains an uphill task. And all of this rests on the shoulder of a teacher, whose best abilities lie in teaching, rather than mundane administration.

Thankfully, advances in digital technology are to our rescue. Using basic analytical tools, t marking attendance can be automated and linked to an evaluation system which can be shared by all stakeholders – the child, parents, teacher and school administration. One does stand to lose the joy of humming ‘Present miss’, but the benefits are far too many. Through advanced analytics, it is possible to understand the preferences of the student, or even performance of the teacher. Periodic reports can be generated which can be assessed by parents at their ease.

Some institutes have already installed biometric devices and card readers for this purpose. But, such solutions have significant hardware and software costs, which can be prohibitive for small institutes.

Proctur has developed a Mobile app to address this gap, which makes marking attendance easy as well as cost-efficient. Institutes using this app reckon the resultant time savings and reporting benefits. A small way in which the company is helping teachers do what they are best at: teaching. The app is about continuing to sing ‘Present Madam!!’, albeit with a different effect.