Ever wondered why attendance marking is such an important element of a school’s daily routine? The reason is not hard to fathom. When a student is marked “present”, that student is also implicitly marked “safe”, “sincere”, “punctual”, “conscientious” and “regular”. However, one needs to move with the times! The daily roll-call is a repetitive and time-consuming activity that eats into the teacher’s time…time that would be better spent interacting with students or coming up with early morning activities that could boost emotional health and brain power. Today, a large number of schools are utilizing school attendance management systems with biometric software to streamline the process of attendance record keeping.
Before listing out the reasons why Biometrics has been gaining in importance in attendance management, it is necessary to understand what the biometric attendance system is all about?
What is a biometric attendance system?
Wikipedia describes Biometrics as: body measurements and calculations related to human characteristics. Biometrics authentication (or realistic authentication) is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance.
Thus, biometric readers in a biometric attendance system can identify a student or staff member and record his time of arrival and departure from the school by reading and authenticating his finger or thumb print or other biological (physiological) characteristics.
Let us now examine why Biometrics is so important in student attendance management:
A. Easy-to use: Biometrics, despite the very technical sound of the term, is surprisingly easy to use. All it takes is a fingerprint or thumbprint for the biometric reader of the attendance management system to identify the student or staff member and register the time of arrival or departure. There are also systems that read the Identity card of the attendee, biometrics with palm vein scanners, iris scanners and facial recognition capacity.
B. Precise: The strength of this type of school attendance management system lies in its accuracy. There is no possibility of fraud or tampering with the fingerprint data or any other data on physiological characteristics captured by the software. Every student is thus accounted for, with precise details such as check-in/check-out times, and number of activities/classes attended by students, etc.
C. Prevents proxy attendance: The issue of proxy attendance has been plaguing institutions since decades. With manual attendance systems, students could get their peers to check in for them under their name. Staff members are also known to misuse the traditional system to get their clocking-in time altered. However, the biometrics-based system is fool-proof and fraud-proof. Examination centers also now have biometrics to prevent cheating, which was commonplace when students could easily get a proxy to write out their papers for them.
D. Simplifies payroll: Payroll processing is a massive and tedious responsibility. Your school attendance management system has that sorted out too, since payroll processing software can be integrated with the biometric attendance software, recording leaves taken by faculty and administrative staff, as also half-days, late check-ins, overtime hours or extra days. Thus deductions and additions can be made to the payroll with accuracy and in real time. Moreover, with biometrics, it becomes easy to know what a teacher is doing at a given time. Tracking and monitoring of staff members becomes easy and calculations are a cinch.
E. Saves time: Biometrics-enabled attendance software is a terrific time-saving system. Teachers who have been overburdened with attendance marking every morning can heave a sigh of relief. Attendance records are also easily maintained without the need to store heavy registers and spreadsheets. Moreover, attendance software with biometrics uses Business Intelligence powered dashboards that generate consolidated and category-wise reports at the touch of a button. Data analysis becomes speedy and accurate, with daily, monthly, annual and category-wise reports and trends showing up on the dashboard in pictorial or graphical formats. Think manpower and time saved to obtain comprehensive and clear reports on attendance trends!
F. Financially viable: Biometrics is also excellent ROI. Manual attendance costs the school or college not just time but also manpower and stationery. Attendance registers, storage space, file organizers, security – everything costs money. In the long run, biometrics readers require minimal maintenance. So initial installation costs may seem higher than getting your teacher to mark attendance, but you save on security personnel to man entrances, on administrative staff to maintain the attendance data and report on attendance trends. Finally, time freed up to focus on more productive activities such as enhancing learning outcomes or improving on pedagogical strategies also makes good “business” sense, since it would boost the institution’s reputation significantly.
Biometrics can be based on fingerprints and palm veins, DNA, palm print, hand geometry, iris recognition, retina and odour / scent. Behavioral characteristics such as gait and voice can also be used as identifiers. Thus, in many systems, schools or colleges can also opt for a contactless attendance management system.
In the final analysis, biometrics, which can be used to ensure that the right staff and students enter a school bus, stand at the school cafeteria or visit the school library, is a perfect foil for fraudsters and malicious or anti-social elements. This is the best, most convenient system to record attendance, prevent truantism and ensure iron-clad security for your students and staff.
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