Govt suspends use of biometric systems for attendance in schools

Coimbatore: The directorate of school education has decided to suspend the use of the Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance system (AeBAS) across the state till March 31 in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Union government had on Friday directed all ministries to suspend biometric attendance till March 31 as the virus is prone to spread through touch.

Director of school education S Kannappan said that following the Centre’s move, teachers in the state were asking for exemption from registering attendance using AeBAS.

A circular from the directorate to chief education officers and district education officers said that all teachers in government and aided elementary, middle, high and higher secondary schools and non-teaching staff in offices should sign in attendance registers.

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Members of the Tamil Nadu Government Employees Teachers Association had on Saturday written to the directorate seeking exemption from using the biometric system. Association president S Arunan said as people successively touch the biometric system, it posed a risk of the virus spreading.

Teachers said there were apprehensions about using the system. “We have been wiping the apparatus using cotton wool before using it,” said state auditor of the Tamil Nadu High and Higher Secondary School Graduate Teacher Association (TNHHSSGTA) T Arulanandam.

While awareness programmes are being taken up in some government schools, teachers said it is not enough. “Children in primary sections are yet to be made aware of the disease properly. There have not been any structured preventive measures or precautions as such in government schools,” Arulanandam added.

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