Fingerprints: Schools

Fingerprinting Kids…Its old news, and its been covered before on this site. As far back in 2006 the Register had a good article about how a school was rolling the system out.

Holland Park School is believed to be one of the first schools in the UK to seek to fingerprint every pupil in an effort to monitor their attendance. The school said it will test the system, costing about £4,500, on pupils who are late to school from next week before rolling it out to all 1,500 pupils.

It plans to build a database so children can be identified and their time of arrival recorded in a “Live Register” by pressing a finger on an electronic pad. If late arrivals fail to press a pad at the gates or in a classroom they will be recorded as absent.”

Fingerprints are not even 100% accurate. They don’t always get it right in criminal cases, what hope for a school? So, why does fingerprinting continue in schools?

Teachers used to take registers, or count their children, but now this “old fashioned” method, is just not good enough for schools.

The solution is, apparently, to finger print the children as they go into school. Its not been confirmed if this will stop the children from skipping school, or merely allow the schools to know more accurately when the kids are there.

Pupils, like travelers with the Oyster card, are bound to forget, or fail to “check in” (or out) or class rooms over the course of school life. Getting it right, every day for 15 years is, at best unlikely for any system, especially a a human one. Does this mean that rushed, forgetful, or bullied children, with have a higher recorded absence rate than others? How will these new and detailed stats be used? On the Oyster card, the defacto assumption is that you are cheating the system and therefore get charged more. How will schools behave?

In the future as the statistics of children attending become more and more important the risk of losing information from the fingerprint system will not be tolerated.

Because of this it is predicted that knowing if the children are in school or not will become so important that schools will have to use a backup of method of monitoring children. Possibly paper, as it is the most backwardly compatible system. The schools will probably have some intricate list of names and mark if they have attended or not against the pupils name.

Why is fingerprinting in schools continuing? No idea. Reasons for this are welcomed.


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