Technology used to help fight truancy at school

PETALING JAYA: A school here has turned to technology to fight truancy and ensure punctually among students by making it compulsory for them to scan their fingerprints each time they came or left the school.

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Desa principal Mohd Aminudin Abu Bakar said the school's digital attendance-taking system was an initiative of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

Mohd Aminudin told theSun the system is to simplify and ease the management of students' attendance to school.

"Once the fingerprint is scanned on the device, it will immediately send an information to the parents of the respective students through a mobile app. It will inform the parents that their child has arrived in school at that time.

"So parents, especially those working, will know that their children have safely arrived in school and the same will be done when the students scan their fingerprint before leaving school," he said.

"The process only takes up to 6 seconds. All students, teachers and staff are required to use this system," Aminudin said.

Similarly all class teachers have their students registered in the system and when one student from their class has scanned, his or her attendance will be shown in the teachers smartphones or tablets.

After which the teachers would record the attendance manually in the record books as that is the official record for the Education Ministry.

Aminudin said parents are required to register with the school and download the app in their smartphones.

"This way they would be able to receive the information directly from the school," he said.

Aminudin said the system also covers attendance for extra curricular activities in school.

"This is also part of educating the students on discipline and punctuality," he said, adding they started trial runs in October last year.

"This gave the students enough time to learn and get used to the system," Aminudin said.

He said they were not the first school to implement the system which had been implemented in another Klang Valley school.

Pointing at some of the comments and concerns raised in the social media on this system, he said the school has taken the necessary measures to ensures students' privacy and data is protected.

"We use the index finger to scan and not the thumb bearing in mind that thumbprints are used by authorities for passport and MyKads.

"We have taken the necessary measures to protect the data and privacy of the students and it will not be used for any other purposes," he said.

Aminudin also said that if the system is to be well implemented by other schools, it should be done by the government as it involves cost.