Polytechnic students may miss exams due to biometric glitches

What was touted as a measure to ensure regularity of students and aid proper fee reimbursement to students has now become a hassle for them.

Published: 07th March 2019 08:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2019 08:17 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: What was touted as a measure to ensure regularity of students and aid proper fee reimbursement to students has now become a hassle for them. Around 15,000-20,000 students across all polytechnic colleges in the State are likely to miss their final examination due to lack of sufficient attendance.

Students and colleges, however, blame technical glitches such as network problems and frequent power cuts for attendance not getting registered in the biometric attendance system(BAS).Introduced to ensure accountability and transparency, BAS was introduced for students and staff of all polytechnic colleges and engineering colleges offering polytechnic education from the ongoing academic year. Since it was in the last semester that the system was introduced for the first time, the enforcement was not strict. There are 130 polytechnic colleges catering to around 1.2 lakh students, predominantly those from rural areas.

Speaking to Express Navin Mittal, commissioner, Collegiate and Technical Education,  said that given the volume of students who will not be able to write the exam, it has been decided that special summer classes would be conducted for such students and they will be allowed to appear for the exam in June.

“There is no provision for students who have less than 65 per cent (including 10 per cent reduction on medical grounds) to be allowed to appear for the exam. The 75 per cent mandatory rule is not  new,”he said.

He also refuted the allegation that there were technical glitches  in the biometric machines and asserted that all technical glitches were removed last semester itself.

BAS not fool-proof

However, not everyone  is convinced that BAS is fool-proof. The Government Polytechnic College for Women, Warangal, for instance continues to record attendance manually along with BAS.  “We follow both methods for marking both morning and evening attendance. Since we follow both methods, we know that if a student has a shortage, it is genuine. However, students who have less than 75 per cent attendance, are being allowed to appear for the examination after payment of `500 as the condonation fee,” said a first year student. Goutham Rao, president of Telangana Engineering College Management Association alleged that the BAS is causing damage rather than strengthening polytechnic education which attracts mostly rural students.

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