A. Felsia Sumangaladevi, the headmistress of Chennai Corporation-run middle school on Triplicane High Road here, is happy with the marked reduction in latecomers to the school that has a strength of 420 students.
Though we expect them to be in by 9.15 a.m., around 60 to 70 students were coming even after 10 a.m. Now, this has reduced to just around ten, she says. The reason is the installation of a facial-recognition based attendance system developed by Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA) last month.
The system, which is the first such to be developed in-house by a department of Tamil Nadu, is also installed in another Corporation-run school in Prakasam Road in T. Nagar and the Indian Institute of Management in Tiruchi all on experimental mode.
All the children need to do is to walk through the corridor where a camera is installed. They can walk in groups and need not even pause for a moment in front of the camera. All they need to ensure is that their face comes within the cameras frame when they cross it, says an official from TNeGA involved in the development.
Though we are using it only on experimental mode along with the manual way of marking attendance, we have told the students that only the new system is functional and it is active till 10 a.m. Since Chennai Corporation has a cash reward of 1,000 for students with 100% attendance in an year, students are more punctual now, Ms. Felsia says.
The camera is not meant for surveillance. It is kept active for the duration when the attendance is marked. Then the software processes the attendance based on the visuals, the official also adds.
At IIM Tiruchi, the system is now used to mark the attendance of non-teaching staff alone. Santhosh K. Misra, Chief Executive Officer, TNeGA, says that the system has, so far, shown 99.5 % accuracy in recognising all the faces and marking the attendance.
If the government wants, we can scale up and roll out the system in all schools, he adds.