The state government's initiative to arrest school dropout rates--using selfies of students in classes--failed to start on the first Monday of the New Year as the software is still not ready. In November, the state asked all teachers to take a picture with students in groups of 10 on the first two Mondays of every month starting January 2017. However, it is yet to announce where the photos have to be uploaded.

When schools reopened after Christmas holidays, principals of several schools in the city were unsure where they would have to upload the selfies taken on January 2. “A GR (government resolution) was issued in November but after that there was no circular on how to go about it. There is also no clarity on which schools have to participate in the exercise. The state is now beginning to introduce biometric attendance so that uploading selfies would not be necessary. So we did not take selfies on Monday,“ said the principal of a school in the western suburbs.

Some schools did take selfies on Monday. “We are not sure what the protocol is, but we still clicked the pictures. We had to spend more than an hour on it because not all teachers knew how to fit 10 students in a frame. We have saved the picture on our mobile phones for now,“ said the headmistress of a BMC school in Chembur.

School education secretary, Nandkumar said, “The software is not ready yet. It is likely to be ready in the next week, most probably next Monday. Then all schools will have to upload the selfies. Instructions will be given through a video conference.“