Technology in academia: Sindh University’s one-click solution for parental oversight

Varsity has introduced online portal for students’ attendance and progress which will be made accessible to parents

Hafeez Tunio October 06, 2019
The University of Sindh. PHOTO: COURTESY USINDH.EDU.PK

KARACHI: In an attempt to upgrade its technological standards at par with international educational institutions of the world, the University of Sindh, Jamshoro, has become the first public varsity in Pakistan to provide remote access to parents to look at and monitor the students' educational progress and activities.

Through the new e-portal, a student’s attendance, online marks sheets, subject-wise results, and how many classes of each subject have been conducted, all will appear on a remote computer screen.

The online database, which is still in its developmental stages, will contain information related to more than 32,000 students and more than 800 faculty members. The system will also enable parents to see the attendance percentage of teachers. Moreover, the university administration has also launched an android mobile application to streamline the attendance of students.

“Any person, located anywhere in the world can just enter the roll number of the student and select the semester they are currently enrolled in. All information related to the student’s major subjects, total classes conducted by teachers and updated percentage of attendance will be displayed on the e-portal,” Dr Ameer Abro, registrar of the university told The Express Tribune.

According to Abro, data of the students from 2004 onwards is available on the university’s website and everyone, who is associated with the university, will be able to access it.

“The portal will also enable people to look at subject-wise results, academic positions and the list of successful candidates in a particular year. In short, all information will be available on fingertips,” he said.

According to university officials, the introduction of the data portal is part of the digital campus management system, which is being developed by the university.

Shedding light on the matter, a senior official at the university’s IT department said that the varsity has also developed a system for the attendance of teachers - a feature which has been unprecedented in Pakistan.

“The portal will enable the vice-chancellor of the university and registrar to see how many times a particular teacher has conducted the classes in a day or a month,” he explained.

The University of Sindh, Jamshoro, enjoys the reputation of being one of the largest public universities of the province that has also received a certification from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in 2018 for developing different applications to facilitate students.

The entire database system is the brainchild of Dr Yasir Malkani, a professor of IT at the university, who developed the system in 2018.

“We initially developed an IT Service Centre to digitise the routine affairs of the campus,” said Dr Malkani, who has obtained a PhD in IT from the United States, said. He added that the varsity has conducted different seminars to start an awareness campaign so that students and parents can use the system without any problems.

“The portal has a very simple user interface and people can easily access information about classes and results of the students without any complications,” the professor explained.

Although it is still in its developmental stages, the university has already launched the e-portal and more features will be added to it with time. “Many other universities have digitised portals, but no one has yet given access to parents in remote areas to review the online performance of their sons and daughters,” he added.

As the new computerised system will replace the traditional manual attendance-marking system, no student will be able to submit the registration form for the next semester if their attendance is below the standard set by the university.

“Every teacher will be obliged to install the attendance app on their cellular phones. The app will be connected to the teachers’ official email addresses,” he explained. “Upon launching the app on their phones, all relevant information about particular subjects, classes and names of enrolled students will be displayed on the screen of the teachers’ phones. In this way, teachers will be able to mark the attendance of the students within five minutes.”

According to Dr Ameer Abro, each year, around 25,000 to 30,000 candidates apply for admission at the university.  “The university will also use its e-portal to announce the pre-entry test results of successful candidates within 24 hours,” the registrar said.

“After the digitisation of the attendance system, fear has started prevailing among students and teachers who do not attend classes regularly. We will soon release the attendance data which will significantly impact the overall environment of the university.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2019.


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