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IIT entrusted with biometry

- Institute to help buy attendance machines

Guwahati, Sept. 16: IIT Guwahati will be engaged to help educational institutions in the state to install the best quality electronic attendance recording machines.

Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Assam College Teachers’ Association had alleged that electronic devices or biometrics punching machines that have been installed in many of the colleges to record attendance digitally were not of good quality.

Moreover, the principals can manipulate such machines against some teachers.

“During a meeting with the representatives of the association on Friday evening, it was decided that IIT Guwahati will be engaged to purchase the biometrics punching machines. It will then install them in colleges and other educational institutions. This will ensure the installation of foolproof machines and there will no scope for manipulation, as alleged by the teachers’ association,” Sarma said.

Sarma convened a meeting on Friday after the college teachers’ recent decision to dump the government’s initiative of installing electronic attendance recording devices and closed-circuit television cameras at the institutes for effective surveillance.

The meeting was held to convince the college teachers of the necessity of installing the devices to modernise the education system.

The move came after reports and allegations that many teachers did not spend a minimum of six hours and 40 minutes each day at the colleges, as stipulated by the UGC. This has affected quality teaching.

“The existing biometric machines will be replaced with new ones selected by IIT Guwahati. Installation of new machines should be complete by December and college teachers will start using the machines from January next year. The principals will also record their attendance through the machines.”

Sarma said the teachers of medical colleges and polytechnic institutes would also have to use the devices.

He said as the universities are autonomous institutes, the government has left the decision of installing the machines to the vice-chancellors.

Towards the end of 2013, the government will introduce the biometrics machines in schools.

Sarma said the teachers would not receive their salaries if they do not use the devices. He added that the government was arranging makeshift classrooms in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District to prevent the loss of an academic year for the students following the recent violence. He said most of the educational institutions in the BTAD are reopening now.

Official sources said there were 261 relief camps in the area, of which nearly 200 were in schools (lower primary, middle English and high schools) and colleges in Dhubri, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts.

Nearly four lakh displaced persons are lodged in these camps. These include nearly one lakh students, mostly studying in primary and middle schools.