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In tracking pupils, school gets smart

Last updated: 09 February, 2010
Raju Gavli, Belgaum, Feb 9, DHNS: 1:29 IST

Classrooms at the Love Dale Central School here no longer echo with the cries of students answering to their names as attendance is taken in the morning.

Students of Love Dale School with their smart cards.The attendance-taking is now done by scanners installed at the entrance to the school that read the smart cards hanging by a lanyard around the necks of students as they file in.

Not only the cards save five to 10 minutes of class time that goes into marking attendance, but the chips embedded in them also enable the schools to inform parents via sms on their cell phones about the attendance, both daily entry and exit of the students from the school with the timings. Students can no longer bunk schools and hope that the parents would not know. If the parents have no cell phone, they get information on the land phones. Parents also get information on the academic performance of their wards on their phones, besides educational requirements of the students such as textbooks, notebooks or stationery, exam time tables or school circulars.

“Scanners at the school entrance scan all the cards when students enter or leave the premises. The data recorded is shared with parents via sms,” Principal Panchsheila Quadri told Deccan Herald.

Other use

The cards also ensure that each student boards the right bus after school. The smart cards, wi-fi-enabled and with radio frequency have been made by Keeptrak, a technology firm based in Mumbai. Conceptualised and created by a team of engineers from IIT, they employ cutting-edge technology to track the targets.

Although the cards have been introduced in some colleges and universities, it is claimed that Love Dale is the first school to introduce them. The idea was born in an interaction between an engineer from Keeptrak Rohit and Love Dale Central School President and MLA Sham Ghatge during a train journey to Mumbai.

The cards carried by the students have apparently changed the behaviour of students and the parents too. The practice of parents making regular visits to the schools for checking on the progress of their children, and voicing complaints and suggestions are now off.

Initially, the idea faced some resistance from parents, but they now welcome it after seeing the results for 18 months, Quadri said.

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