Punjab University will soon introduce a biometric time and attendance tracking system for campus staff, the university’s officials have announced. According to reports, the system will be based on fingerprint scanning and facial recognition. At its outset, it will only be used to track non-faculty staff, but Punjab University officials have indicated that it will eventually be expanded to track the attendance of teachers and students in the future.
University officials say that the system has been implemented to deal with “irregularities” in the attendance of university workers, though it also appears to the be the product of concerns about campus safety, with officials having earlier suggested a biometric attendance tracking system due to issues related to non-students entering campus.
The move is both timely and risky. Biometric attendance tracking is on the rise all over the world, with India at the forefront; its government has used the Aadhaar national biometric ID program to track its own employees, for example. At the same time, there has already been some push-back from academic quarters, with teachers at Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology having recently staged a mass sit-in to protest the implementation of biometric tracking at their school. Of course, for now Punjab University’s system only applies to non-faculty workers, and by the time it rolls out to teachers and students the culture at large may have acclimatized more to the technology.