Are RFID and Biometrics-based attendance systems the new game-changers in attendance management?
Tracking student attendance is one of the fundamental responsibilities of a school. Students who remain more absent than present in class are, inevitably, indifferent learners and poor achievers, with sorry prospects for the future. Absenteeism amongst students needs to be recorded, reported and analyzed in order to be thoroughly understood.
The task of recording and reporting absentee students still falls upon the teacher, although the job is primarily administrative in nature. This is because students interact for the most part with the teacher and their absence or presence has a direct bearing on the teaching-learning process.
However, one must bear in mind that one of the most tragic consequences of getting teachers to be the attendance record-keepers of a school is that it eats into precious teaching time, depriving students of several hours of classroom activities, interactions, knowledge and learning every year. Moreover, teachers don’t need another mundane, repetitive task to add to their burdens. If our education system has to be revamped, one needs to begin by reinventing the teachers job – giving him or her time and space to focus on “the supreme art” which is “to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”, in the words of Albert Einstein.
And this is why do we need to come up with more effective ways to overcome the attendance tracking problem. When done manually, by a teacher who is stressing out over the vast curriculum that remains to be completed, errors are frequent. Also, you may have a brilliant humanities teacher who could throw her hands up in despair when asked to produce reports on average attendance rates and trends. Instead of splitting hairs over work that is neither fulfilling nor creative, alternative methods of tracking attendance efficiently, speedily and in real time could be considered.
So what are the alternatives to a manual tracking of attendance? There are several, in fact, but three stand out for their efficacy and time/cost-effectiveness. These are, de facto, varied versions of the e-attendance or automated attendance management system. Let us take a closer look at these alternatives:
RFID-based Attendance System: Radio Frequency Identification can record attendance of the entire class within seconds. A smart card with a unique identification (UID) number is issued to each student and an RFID card reader is installed at the entrance of the school or classroom. Students need to keep their smart cards on them when passing through the reader. The reader can capture several smart cards simultaneously, by scanning the UID number. Thus, attendance of a large number of students can be tracked automatically in minutes. An integrated school information management system can fetch this data from the wireless RFID reader. The school authorities can consequently access the attendance data of several classes and sections in a consolidated form and in real time.
Biometric systems are : the most accurate and reliable attendance tracking system available in the school software market. Fingerprints of each student are captured by the system. When the student places her or his finger on the biometric machine, the student is marked as “present”. Since every fingerprint is unique, chances of proxy or fake attendance are virtually non-existent. This data too can be fetched by integrated school management software to be viewed by authorities in real time.
School Attendance Apps : are the perfect all-in-one solution to attendance tracking and communication. The teacher can thus record class attendance in less than a minute. Parents can send in a leave application for their ward via the App. Students who are absent will show up as “on leave” on the App. This method saves on time and gives the teacher some much needed respite from a monotonous administrative responsibility. An in-App message can be sent to parents thanks to the Push Notification feature of the school App. Parents who receive an email or an SMS informing them instantly about their child’s absence can take action promptly to trace the child’s whereabouts. The App thus ensures the child’s safety, making it an indispensable element of every school management system.
What makes an Attendance Tracking System effective?
- Smart Data Management : Apart from the speed and the cost-savings that an automated attendance tracking system offers, another essential feature of leading-edge e-attendance software is the capability to manage vast data effectively. Attendance data management includes data compilation, generation of consolidated and category-wise reports, data summaries for given time periods, data storage with data integrity guaranteed, and finally data recovery, including recovery of back-dated reports.
- Generation of accurate attendance reports : An Attendance System using RFID or Biometrics comprises Business Intelligence powered dashboards that can drill down to specific data instantly. Hence, you can access precise graphical data for any time period or category of students (a particular class, gender, subject or teacher, for example) or even for a single student. This makes data analysis an effortless and meaningful operation. At a glance, pictorial or graphical data provides a transparent, comprehensive and lucid picture of a certain attendance trend.
- Powerful data security : Entries in hard-bound attendance registers can easily be tampered with and reports on paper spreadsheets are equally vulnerable to manipulation or destruction. Paperless operations are practically tamper-proof, if the attendance management system provides for role-based access. A good RFID-based attendance system would also protect your data with multiple layers of security and strong encryption.
For all these reasons, a wise school management board needs to consider investing in a smart attendance tracking system. An RFID/Biometrics tracking system or an intelligent school communication App is the universal answer to the problem of attendance management.
Wisdom lies, after all in ensuring that class time is spent nurturing excellence, not calculating averages!
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