BENGALURU: The state government is likely to implement an order making biometric fingerprint attendance compulsory for all students in 141 special schools across the state. Some schools have already installed a biometric attendance system in adherence to a circular issued to all special schools by the department for empowerment of differently abled and senior citizens."The department is now insisting the government to issue an order on installing biometric attendance system due to the stiff resistance from special schools, particularly in northern parts,'' says the department's director Siddaraju.
Karnataka state disabled and caregivers federation general secretary, Arpuda Rajan, said an order on making biometric systems compulsory for all special schools is a step in the right direction. He told TNIE that the director, during surprise visits to special schools in Bengaluru and northern parts of Karnataka, found no students or few students inside the classrooms. "The number of students was inflated to elicit more funds," he said.
"Besides ensuring real-time attendance, the biometric system will also facilitate free supply of food grains,'' Siddaraju said. Karnataka state union for differently abled service organisations' general secretary Vasanth Shetty, however, said that the biometric attendance system is no less than a punishment for children with Down Syndrome. "Marking their attendance through this method could take hours because it is difficult to get restless autistic children or children with cerebral palsy to press their thumb on the scanner," he said.
"I had installed three biometric systems, and after unsatisfactory results, I also installed a face reading attendance system in my special school-Saanidhya residential school in Mangaluru,'' said Shetty. The department should drop the move to make biometric attendance compulsory as successive acts, including National Trust Act,had discouraged any form of punishment to differently abled children. Instead of implementing such measures, let the district disabled welfare officer inspect and blacklist special schools found violating the norms, he added.
"Why should they implement something for special schools which does not exist even for primary schools,'' Shetty asked and added that they had demanded that biometric system for special children should not be made mandatory in their memorandum submitted to CM H D Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on July 14. Siddaraju said children with Down Syndrome and other problems can be exempted from registering attendance through the biometric system. But the reasons need to be documented, he added.