The Telegraph
Saturday , December 1 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Meet on biometric machines

Guwahati, Nov. 30: The Assam College Teachers’ Association will convene a special convention to take the final decision on the use of biometric punching machines, used to digitally record the attendance of teachers in colleges.

The convention is scheduled for either December 28 or 29 at Raha College in Nagaon district.

In September, a meeting between education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and the representatives of the teachers’ association decided that IIT Guwahati would be engaged to purchase the best quality biometric punching machines and then install them in colleges from January.

Dispur had decided to install biometric machines to prevent a section of college teachers from skipping classes and spending college hours for private tuition.

“College teachers agreed to use the technology only on certain conditions. The government is expected to come out with the formal order to install the machines within December. If the order does not reflect the wishes and conditions of the teachers’ association, we will not allow installation of the devices in colleges under any circumstance,” Biswajit Bhuyan, the general secretary of the association, told The Telegraph.

The association said experts and the government must certify the biometric machines so that these could not be manipulated and used to unnecessarily harass the teachers.

The association also demanded that the government must come out with an order saying the principals would have to submit the statements of attendance as recorded by the biometric machines whenever the teachers required them for various purposes.

It had asked the government to ensure that the principals of colleges and faculties of other institutions affiliated to the UGC and All India Council for Technical Education also used the modern device.

“We had asked the government to ensure a suitable backup system in case of power failure, which would make biometric punching machines incapable of digitally recording attendance,” Bhuyan said.

An Assam government official said the education minister recently mooted the idea of using solar energy as a backup and asked his department to discuss the feasibility of the project with experts.

Bhuyan, while rejecting the government’s proposal of solar energy as a backup, said the government must come out with its order within the second week of December to enable the association to take a final decision on the issue during its special convention.