With the speedy progress of information technology, digitalisation is succeeding by leaps and bounds. It has almost covered every sector of life like banking, business, communication, service delivery and so on. Still the IT technocrats are continuously moving forward to cover the odds and ends. Like in other parts of the country, Jammu and Kashmir is also taking best advantage of IT and is getting advanced with new expedited ways and means through modern technology to carry out the proposed official procedures in government as well as in private sectors. The advent of IT has made functioning in different departments more accurate, uninterrupted and less time consuming. Be it for the purpose of better service delivery to public or human resource management, government of Jammu and kashmir is fastly switching over to online mode, so these digital methods of functioning have now become the priority. So far, various online portals have been introduced for government employees of Jammu and Kashmir to manage their proper record of credentials, duties, accountabilities and performances. To get rid of manual overburden and minimise the frequency of manual errors in the system, government has chosen IT as a viable alternative. Various online portals to manage the record of government employees have been introduced so far which include Human Resource Management System (HRMS), Employees Performance Monitoring Portal, (EMP) Property Returns System ( PRS). However while talking about the feedback received from different departments, education department is having a leading role to withstand the modern digital technology. Besides continuing with online modes of teaching learning and various online training courses for teachers, Jammu and Kashmir School Education Department is now becoming the first to introduce two applications, one GPS based attendance online application and another online application for taking monthly feedback from the students of 6th stand and above stands. The launching ceremony of these two apps was recently held in Jammu and was attended by top level officers of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir including Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Principal Secretary School Education , Director School Education Kashmir, Director School Education Jammu, MD Samagra Shiksha and many others. Dr Arun Kumar Mehta has called these apps the powerful tools to take the department to much higher efficiency and accountability. It has been said that the GPS based attendance application will track the exact location of an employee with Geo Coordinates and will record time of arrival, stay and departure of the officials in their offices. Therefore these applications would certainly tighten all the slack ropes of leniency for ensuring accountability and diligence of employees with no compromise with laxity. However the rating of quality and standard of these applications would come to fore only after their usage. Though it can be said that the introduction of GPS attendance app is not solely aimed at mitigating absences of teachers at large scale, because teachers have a good past record of punctuality and boundness to their legitimate duties, but withstanding the modern technology is the need of era. However such kind of applications are expected to plug the loopholes if any in the attendance breach of employees. It would be thought that School Education Department would be experimental for GPS attendance app which is first of its kind. If the application worked well, then in future, government may most probably use this application as a change setters in all other government departments to ensure instilling of more efficiency and accountability among employees.
Government employees in general and particularly the government teachers at large have already proven their worth in the Jammu and Kashmir School Education Department. They have been committed to their legitimate duties for which outcomes bear witness. Teachers have not been working only during working hours and working days but have been delivering their services during off School days and off School months ( winters) , with the result number of out of school children (OSC) has been mitigated to a large extent and letracy rate increased by leaps and bounds. Still, Introducing GPS based attendance system is an appreciable step and can ensure more accountability of employees. But just tightining nose around a handful of underperformers “because most of the teachers withstand their sence of responsibilities”, is not enough to overhaul department as a whole. So a lot of things need to be done to cope up with all the inadequacies. So far, the department has done a lot and is flourishing with flying colours but the advancement has always a scope. The need to bring holistic betterment in the department demands focus on upgradation of all of it’s other aspects as well, like infrastructure, providing good working conditions for teachers to carrying out their professional duties without interruptions due to non-teaching assignments, taking measures to restoration their self-esteem, dignity and honour , ensuring speedy mechanism of redressal of their grievances so that they may not need to roam from pillar to post for getting their issues redressed. Teachers need to be given ease of mind to work with full concentration to carry out their professional duties, if it happens, things would definitely turn out for the better.
(The author a teacher by profession. The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the authors and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)
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