New Attendance Monitoring at SVKM Mithibai College: Safety Measure or Invasion of Privacy?

New Attendance Monitoring at SVKM Mithibai College: Safety Measure or Invasion of Privacy?

Despite the college's intentions, many students feel the new system infringes on their autonomy,

Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Saturday, June 01, 2024, 09:30 AM IST
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SVKM Mithibai College |

In an effort to ensure students’ safety, Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal (SVKM) has introduced a new attendance tracking system at Mithibai College of Arts. This system, which notifies parents about their children's presence in college via WhatsApp has sparked a mixed response among the student body.

The system, which was implemented as a trial in February at Mithibai's Vile Parle branch, records students’ in-and-out times and sends that information to their parents. College officials believe that this system will reduce parental worry, particularly among those whose children travel long distances from locations such as Virar and Thane.

Principal Prof Krutika B Desai defends the system. 

"We understand the concerns of parents, especially those whose children travel up to four hours daily. Understanding the agony of our parents, we introduced this system to make parents feel secure that their children have reached the college premises," she told The Free Press Journal (FPJ).

Students’ concerns

Despite the college's intentions, many students feel the system infringes on their autonomy. "We're 18 years old, and having our movements constantly monitored takes away our freedom," said one student who wished to remain anonymous.

Desai, however, argues that the system balances freedom with responsibility. "Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. Students claiming to be mature enough at 18 should also behave responsibly," Desai said.

Some students argue that the system is not only restrictive but also flawed. "Sometimes the notifications are inaccurate. If we go to the canteen, our parents receive an 'out' notification but don't get notified when we return. My parents thought I was skipping classes," another student explained to the FPJ on the condition of anonymity.

Another student expressed frustration saying, "They claim to encourage our autonomy and personal growth, yet they impose this system that undermines our freedom. It's hypocritical to take away our privileges and then hold open forums about promoting individuality."

Parents’ perspective

Explaining the primary goal of this system, Desai told the FPJ that it was not to monitor students but to ensure their safety. "Our objective was to inform parents about their children's safety. Parents were impressed with this system when it was launched," she highlighted.

A parent, who prefers anonymity, commented on the system saying, "We don't mind being notified about our child's attendance since we trust her and she asks for permission if she needs to skip college. However, this could be an issue for students with stricter parents. There are pros and cons to this system, and the college hear student's concerns."

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