Early Warning System
The Early Warning System is a joint initiative of the Commission and the Directorate of Education in predicting students’ adversity using attendance as an indicator enabling timely remedial interventions for the same.
According to 2019 data, nearly 5 lakh children are absent in Delhi Govt schools on any given day. The model of Early Warning System is based on the understanding that a substantially low school attendance of a student is possibly a ramification of certain circumstances which has forced the child out of school.
Numerous scenarios can be responsible for such low attendance of children, including child’s or parental severe sickness, being forced into child labour due to financial challenges, instances of abuse, psychological issues which can stem from the disability or from the child’s experiences in and out of school, and more. The Early Warning System uses attendance as the primary tool to identify children who might be in such high-risk situations and nudge the ecosystem into action.
Prioritising the concern that absenteeism is set to increase because of COVID-19 pandemic as its socio-economic disastrous effects push the children out of school and cause drop outs, Early Warning System functions through following process:
- 1. An automated SMS is sent on a daily basis to each student who is absent from school.
- 2. Consolidated data is fetched on a monthly basis from the school attendance MIS for absent students.
- 3. Students who are present for less than 33% working days in a month are reflected under the dashboard of the Early Warning System.
- 4. DCPCR Helpline operators make the first call to the parents/ guardians of long absentee students and record reasons for absence and ascertain general well-being of the child.
- 5. These observations are recorded in a specifically curated MIS known as Early Warning System.
- 6. Home-visits are conducted by concerned stakeholders in cases where the parents are unreachable, and/or children are classified as “high-risk”.
- 7.Based on the “high-risk”, adequate steps are taken for each high-risk. For example:
- a. Parental Death: Enrolment of family in identified govt schemes for financial assistance, children’s counselling, periodic calls from friends and teachers.
- b. Child’s Severe Sickness: DCPCR or Childline staff visits home, takes the child to the nearest hospital, and ensures treatment and regular follow-up.
A pilot for the Early Warning System was initiated in the month of October 2021 using the attendance data of the month of September 2021. Two rounds of the pilot have been completed, and following are some findings that have come from the same:
Total identified students: 819
Calls made: 819
Successful calls: 336
Following are the major reasons of absenteeism found in the analysis of the pilot:
- 1. Sickness of student/family: 128
- 2. Moved back to village: 67
- 3. Lack of parental awareness: 65
- 4. Labour, early marriage and household care: 27
- 5. Death in family : 14
With soft launch completed and process ongoing for data of upcoming months, the complete programme is scheduled to be officially launched across all Delhi Govt. schools soon.