From 3 January this year, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Desa in Petaling Jaya has made it compulsory for students to scan their fingerprints each time they come or leave the school
The compulsory fingerprint scanning has been introduced with hopes to fight truancy and ensure punctuality among students
According to SMK Taman Desa principal Mohd Aminuddin Abu Bakar, the school's digital attendance-taking system is an initiative of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA).
While speaking to theSun, Aminuddin said that the system is to simplify and ease the management of students' school attendance
"Once the fingerprint is scanned on the device, it will immediately send an information to the parents of the respective students through a mobile app. It will inform the parents that their child has arrived in school at that time," he told theSun, adding, "So parents, especially those working, will know that their children have safely arrived in school and the same will be done when the students scan their fingerprint before leaving school."
"The process only takes up to 6 seconds. All students, teachers and staff are required to use this system," theSun quoted the SMK Taman Desa principal as saying.
There are currently 6 scanners in place and have been separated according to gender. This was done, according to a report in the VulcanPost, "to ease the process and reduce congestion at the corridors when students are queuing to scan their fingerprints."
In its Facebook page, SMK Taman Desa posted that device 1, 2 and 3 at the corridor of Auditorium are for the female students and device 4, 5 and 6 at the corridor of the other side of Block C are for the male students.
While all class teachers have their students registered in the system, parents are required to register with the school and download the app to their smartphones, according to the principal
When one student from a teacher's class scans his or her fingerprint, their attendance will be shown in the teacher's smartphones or tablets. Following which, the teacher would record the attendance manually in the record books as the official record for the Education Ministry.
He said the system also covers attendance for extra-curricular activities in school.
"This is also part of educating the students on discipline and punctuality," Aminuddin told theSun, adding they started trial runs in October last year.
"This gave the students enough time to learn and get used to the system."
Meanwhile, the decision has garnered mixed reactions from people
According to VulcanPost, while some brought up the issue of whether six devices are enough to sustain the volume of students, others have questioned the need for such a device which may make students feel like prisoners inside their school premises.
Alumni from the school, on the other hand, were relieved that they escaped the system.
However, principal Aminuddin, who said they were not the first school to implement the system in Klang Valley, said they have taken the necessary steps to protect students' privacy and data
Speaking to theSun, the SMK Taman Desa principal said, "We use the index finger to scan and not the thumb bearing in mind that thumbprints are used by authorities for passport and MyKads. We have taken the necessary measures to protect the data and privacy of the students and it will not be used for any other purposes."
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