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Mumbai colleges use RFID cards, biometrics for attendance

The University Grants Commission — a government body designed to maintain higher education standards in India — mandated a shift from the pen and paper attendance tracking to a more efficient and effective method. Two years on, area colleges are issuing RFID credentials and experimenting with biometric systems to better log attendance and deter students from skipping class.

According to a report from the Indian Express, the age-old verbal method of roll call was too prone too error and sparked the move to a comparably more fool-proof system. Now, Mumbai area colleges are opting for RFID cards, an option chosen over an unexplained biometric system. The biometric system in question was deemed to be more time-consuming than its RFID counterpart.

Students are now issued RFID cards that register their entry and exit at campus gates. In the event that the system does not register the student’s entry, a notification is sent to the parent regarding their student’s absence.

Despite some expressing a preference for RFID, there are some colleges that have gone the biometric route. The SIES College of Arts, Science & Commerce in the Sion region of Mumbai is implementing the RFID system for select degree courses after piloting the biometric system for a year.

“We still have a few bugs to work around. Factors like students jumping courses, timetables being shifted and the absence of teaching staff need to be taken into account,” Harsha Mehta, principal of SIES, told the Indian Express. “We look for the full implementation of the biometric system in every class within two years.”

Elsewhere, Andhra Education Society (AES), a junior college in Wadala, has deployed a combination of biometrics and RFID cards to log attendance. At AES, students produce an RFID card at the campus gate, while attendance to class is registered via biometrics. Similar to other campuses, notifications at AES are sent to parents but only when a student does not attend a class.

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