Centre wants to know students’ bank details


Bank and salary details are among the information students have been asked to furnish to feed into the national school database under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan. Parents and teachers alike are unhappy about the move.

While teachers complained about the increase in workload at a time when they are busy with report cards and admission work, parents wondered about the need for such detailed information, in the wake of recent concerns surrounding data leaks.

The Maharashtra Prathamik Shikshan Parishad issued a circular on April 12 to education officials that data related to the students should be collected from schools and fed in the student database management information system (SDMIS) for students from pre-primary to Std XII.

The excel sheet has 44 parameters, which include students’ Aadhaar number, religion, caste, mother tongue, parents’ details, student’s bank account number and IFSC code. For students from Std IX to XII, who have opted for vocational courses, their job role, employment status and salary offered must also be provided.

“It is the first time the government is asking for so much information,” a school principal who did not wish to be named told Mirror. “It is too personal. I am surprised. I don’t know why they want so many details.”

BMC education officer Mahesh Palkar said the database was being created to disburse benefits through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), a system to directly transfer subsidies, such as money for books, uniforms or scholarships, to bank accounts.

However, schools and parents complained there was no clarity on the point of the data collection exercise. “The government should have taken the information already available in SARAL, the Maharashtra government’s student portal. What is the point of asking for salary details? Schools are neck deep in assessment and admission work,” fumed Shankar Pawar, principal of AFAC English school, Chembur.

Uday Nare of Shikshak Bharti, a teacher’s union, said they were clueless why all the information was necessary. “Parents are asking why such information is being taken from them again and again.”

Parents questioned the rationale of transfer of benefits for collecting information of their children.

“There is no need for such exhaustive details on students to transfer benefits. Who will be responsible if there is aleak?” wondered Meenal Rajesh Wagal, a parent of a Std X student.

Rajashree Natu, member of PTA (Parent Teachers Association) United Forum said a few parents approached her with privacy concerns . “After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, can anyone assure us that this information will be secure? Financial details of children are on the portal. Parents are even worried about kidnapping threats,” she said.

Teachers, meanwhile, were upset over the extra workload. “We are prepared to enter the information, but the timing is not right,” said Sudam Kumbhar, principal, Shailendra Education Society’s High school. The deadline for compiling the data is April 25.

School education secretary Nand Kumar, who issued the circular, did not reply to a question on the aim of collecting so many details. He said Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan officials, and not teachers, will feed the data into the system. “It is a requirement of the government of India,” he said in a text message.

Source: Economic Times


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