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UGC wants biometric scanners to track students in classrooms and hostels

The University Grants Commision (UGC) of India has asked higher educational institutions in the country to install biometric devices in classrooms and hostels as a means to mark attendance in class and in order to "keep an eye on a student’s movement and whereabouts in failsafe manner." "Biometric way of marking student attendance, both in higher education institutions as well as hostels, can be an effective way to overcome proxy," the UGC said in its guidelines for students' safety. The Times of India reports that Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (DAVV) is soon likely to install biometric devices on its campus and hostels following the UGC's directive. Vishakapatnam's AVN College also has installed biometric machines to mark students' attendance as indicated by this Hindu report. The Himachal Pradesh University also had a similar proposal for biometric machines  to check for attendances. Interestingly, this proposal was met with opposition with some members of the faculty as teachers needed to adjust their class timings according to their needs and that they could not be present for attendance on a fixed time. It's also interesting to note that earlier this month Rajasthan higher education minister Kalicharan Saraf mandated that all colleges and universities in the state be equipped with biometric systems to check absenteeism among teaching and non-teaching staff. Safety app The UGC  also advocated an emergency notification system for students through which emergency message can be sent via email, telephone, cell phone and text messaging within minutes of the occurrence of an incident. Note, the UGC also set up an  ‘Online students grievance…

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