A facial-recognition attendance system, which will keep track of 2.5 lakh government teachers in Gujarat, will be launched by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on September 5, reports the Indian Express. The system, which the education department calls “fool-proof” with “no scope of manipulation”, uses an app with a geo-tagging feature to mark teachers’ attendance. Teachers have also been asked to download a Microsoft app named Kaizala or Facebook’s Workplace for the facial-recognition attendance system which is going to cost crores of rupees, the report continues.

Teachers raise privacy issues

The state government has launched a campaign for the acceptance of this tech, which the report says, has faced criticism for privacy concerns. The report further says that the government has held no discussions with teachers for the installation of this facial-recognition tech in schools. Moreover, the report highlights that about 65% of teachers in Gujarat’s government schools are women and their photos could be uploaded online and potentially be misused. Teachers have also told the state government that not all of them use smartphones, and thus be provided with a smartphone each for each school, the report continues.

Education secretary says, ‘data collected by system will be encrypted’

Education secretary Vinod Rao, meanwhile, has reportedly recorded a video which says that following the application of the system, teachers won’t be marked absent despite being present in schools. MediaNama hasn’t reviewed a copy of the video. He also said that the data collected by these systems would be encrypted and stored on the state government’s science and technology department’s GIPL (Guj Info Petro Ltd) server, according to the report. Rao also said that the facial-recognition system is not a conspiracy against teachers or an attempt to curtail their independence, per the report.

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