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The Gujarat government is all set to launch the facial-recognition attendance system for the teachers. The new attendance system will be launched on Teacher's Day on September 5th by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. It will help to keep the attendance record of 2.5 lakh government teachers.
The system which operates online will also function with geo-tagging system. The CM of the state has said the system is full proof as it will track the teacher’s location as well when he will mark the attendance.
Mr Vinod Rao, the Principal Secretary of Education, has sent a 10-minute video and an audio message to appeal to the government teachers and send the message in Government Teachers’ Whatsapp group. He has appealed the people to accept the system by saying the system is full-proof and has no scope of manipulation.
The principal secretary has responded to the previous allegations of the teachers where they alleged the attendance marking system with face recognition is a breach of privacy. Mr Rao has said in the voice message that now, no principal can mark any teacher absent as per his/her will. The system will stop the injustice done towards the government teachers. This will be achieved with geotagging and geofencing technology.
The teachers are requested to download Facebook’s ‘Workplace’ or Microsoft’s ‘Kaizala’ for marking their attendance.
From the briefing session with Cluster Resource Centre (CRCs), Block Resource Centre (BRCs) co-ordinators, District Primary Education Officers (DPEOs) and District Education Officers (DEOs), the principal secretary of education came to know that the teachers do not express their consent for the system. The bodies were previously asked to educate the teachers about the newly implemented system.
Still, Rao expressed his hope that teachers will come around. He said that whenever a new system is implemented, resentments take place but people extend support when they learn that this is for their own benefits.
Digvijaysinh Jadeja who is the President of Gujarat State Primary Teachers Association expressed that there are privacy concerns and lack of infrastructure and financial support form the government's end The president informed that there were no talks with them for implementing the system.
Jadeja informed that 65% of the government teachers are women, with the app, anyone can misuse the uploaded photos. Replying to that, the principal secretary has said that the messages are fully encrypted and even facebook or Microsoft cannot see them. He also urged people to directly contact him if any misunderstandings or questions persist.
The teachers also have said that not every one of them has a smartphone. They have urged the principal secretary to provide at least one smartphone to each school so that biometrics can be registered.
However, the government has said that it will cost a lot to switch to a biometric system. Rao, in his video message, has said that it costs 5,000 to 10,000 for each school to register biometrics. It will cost in crores to do it in approx 40,000 schools across the state.
As the battle continues between the state government and school teachers, the fate of the system lies uncertain. In the current scenario, there are questions if the government can even officially launch the system on 5th September!
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