Bhubaneswar, Sep 3 :
After recurring instances of insects, scorpions and worms finding their way into mid day meals served to school students in the state, leading to students falling ill and being hospitalized, the School and Mass Education (S&ME) department has woken up to the need for real time monitoring of the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme across the state through SMS-based mechanism from this week.
The recent spate of tragic incidents has forced the state government to intervene at grassroots level through a proper monitoring mechanism for the MDM delivery system.
The SMS-based monitoring system will be facilitated by the Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) whose ‘SMS Gateway’ will be used for the purpose.
Baleswar district will be the first to implement the project on pilot basis from this week, departmental sources said.
Under the new project the headmaster or headmistress of every school will be required to send a text messages with details like the number of students who were served the mid-day meal, the menu and if there was any complication or problem to Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC)’s central server .
SMS-based monitoring mechanism will provide real time information about thousands of school students consuming the meals, said S&ME department secretary Usha Padhee. Prior to this, government officials were dependent on monthly reports or word of mouth to get information on the MDM scheme.
According to OCAC officials, the software will automatically filter out the anomalies in the information provided by the school heads and generate an automated report.
If the head teacher of a certain school sends false reports for three days consecutively, an automated report will be sent directly to the S&ME director for evaluation. The project will gradually cover more than 70,000 schools across the state, said departmental sources.
In addition to this, a capacity building programme was undertaken by the S&ME department in collaboration with the Institute of Tourism. Padhee informed that two people were selected from each district to be trained as the master resource persons.
During the ten day training programme, people were trained in basic hygiene, precautions to be taken while preparing mid-day meals, mid-day meal norms and menu planning.
The trained resource persons will conduct similar training programmes at district and block levels. The cooks and helpers of the MDM will be the recipients of the training programmes. Audio-visual materials have been provided to the master resource persons to help them in the training programme.