Biometric system issue raked up in DU council meet

A surprise discussion on whether biometric attendance system should be implemented for teachers took place in the end of the Delhi University emergency executive council meeting, which went on till late night on Saturday.

Dissenting voices were also heard in the discussion.“Pro-vice chancellor and some other EC members gave vice chancellor (VC) the power to decide if the biometric system should be implemented or not. However, two EC members showed dissent,” said a EC member.

“While walking away the VC threatened that if there is any dissent on the issue, then the biometric attendance system will be implemented from the next day,” said the member. He added that one of the dissenters withdrew his viewpoint in the wake of the VC’s threat.

According to EC members, discussion on biometric attendance was not on the agenda of the meeting. Previously, talks were going within the teaching community that it was a trade-off between the biometric system and the four-year graduation programme to be implemented by 2013.

“In 2009, Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) came out with a document regarding curbing absenteeism and checking accountability of teachers,” said the member.

“It was decided that a sub-committee will be formed to look into the matter keeping the DUTA document as the basis. EC members yesterday rejected forming the committee calling it a wastage of time,” added the member.

DUTA member Abha Dev Habib said the biometric attendance system will destroy academics.

“Teachers don’t have 9 am to 5 pm jobs. We are not dealing with files, we are dealing with humans. There are days when I stay at college till late night, but then there are days when I leave early, visit a library, or a workshop and do my research,” Habib said.

She added that teaching community is up for a mechanism to check absenteeism and maintain accountability, however, there is a need for better alternative. Teachers opined that curbing absenteeism and bringing accountability cannot take place by putting up a ‘restrictive’ system.

“One cannot deny that there is no absenteeism as there are teachers who do not come to college. And if they do, they do not take classes,” said a teacher.

“However, just to check that a section of teachers become accountable, this system is humiliating for teachers who take their work seriously,” said the teacher.

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