Mumbai: Colleges in a fix over biometric system to mark attendance of students

Mumbai: Mumbai colleges are in a fix over the directive to install biometric attendance system to mark attendance of students. Colleges claimed that, for one, it will not deter students from bunking lectures. Second, it will not discourage students from attending integrated courses through coaching classes.

Some colleges have tie-ups with various coaching classes where students can attend those classes and bunk lectures in lieu of attendance in classes and that is shown as attendance in college. A senior officer of the education department said, “A large number of students from Science stream attend classes for five to seven hours daily and do not attend college lectures. Since these colleges have tie-ups with these coaching classes, they cover up the attendance of students.”

Colleges have opposed this decision as it will not help resolve the issue of integrated courses. Anil Deshmukh, General Secretary of Mumbai Junior College Teachers’ Union (MJCTU), said, “This system will not prevent students from attending integrated courses as students will still attend coaching classes which already have biometric machines. The state should not allow these colleges which have tie-ups with various classes to function, so that there is no question of students attending coaching classes or missing lectures.”

This measure will require funds, since colleges have revealed that they do not have funds for installation of biometric machines for all classes of the Science stream. Rajpal Hande, Principal of Mithibai College, said, “Installing biometric machines will require funds. Also, we will need to set up an entire team of Information Technology (IT) experts to monitor and manage this system and all of this will require financial investments, which we do not have.” As per the government regulation (GR) of the state education department, all aided, unaided and self-finance colleges should install a biometric machine for attendance for the Science stream.

Surprise visits to colleges will be conducted to check these systems and strict action will be taken against those in violation of the GR as per the direction of the state. The aim is to keep a digital record of attendance of every student. Vinod Tawde, state education minister of school and higher secondary education, said, “We want to install biometric attendance system so that colleges can keep a digital record in their upgraded system.”

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