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Improving school attendance tracking through technology in Baringo 

Tracking school attendance is necessary to improve student outcomes, reduce absenteeism, and promote accountability. In schools which lack ICT equipment and digital literacy, attendance records are tracked on paper — however this method makes understanding attendance trends difficult due to the sheer volume of paper files.

In an effort to better track attendance rates in schools based in the arid, and semi-arid lands (ASAL) of Kenya, an exciting new digital application has been developed for teachers. Onekana Digital Attendance App (ODAA) was developed through a partnership between the Kenyan Ministry of Education, the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NAKONEK) and UNICEF. All of our partner schools in Baringo are situated in ASALs, so will commence use of the ODAA. The new application has also been linked to the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS), the Government’s portal for data on education institutions, to record school data and allocate school funding.

‘It is an exciting advance, to digitise school attendance and link it to NEMIS records. Reviewing the data that is currently captured in NEMIS by our partner schools in Baringo, only 50% of enrolled primary children are recorded. This is because many children don’t have birth certificates which complicates the process; and teachers responsible for data management don’t have adequate knowledge on how to use the NEMIS digital platform. Because annual Government funding  is based on the number of children captured in NEMIS, addressing both of these barriers is important.’ 

Eliud, Education Manager, So They Can Kenya.

In February, So They Can facilitated a 2-day practical training with 18 Head Teachers and ICT teachers from our Baringo partner schools. The training covered the: 

  • Up-skilling of staff responsible for schools’ NEMIS data, including how to register children without birth certificates
  • Importance of updating NEMIS data
  • Introduction and use of ODDA for capturing daily attendance

Following the training, the participants returned to their schools and trained all teachers in their schools on  how to use ODAA, and it is already in use. From now on, schools will be able to readily access summaries of student attendance, and quickly address cases of concern.

In our pastoralist school communities, where families are forced to migrate in search of water and food, the implementation and records from ODAA will ensure that every child is accounted for, and being educated.

1,600 children will be registered in the ODAA, with their daily attendance recorded, from across our 10 partner primary schools in Baringo.

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