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Andhra Pradesh, India Uses Facial Recognition Tech in Schools

The Andhra Pradesh state government has announced it will deploy facial recognition software to address teacher absenteeism. Teachers in government schools will have to record their attendance twice a day through the system. The initiative is expected to reach nearly 189,000 teachers. Over the next month, a pilot project will be launched by the Department of School Education in four zones of the state, with the help of four different vendors.

In the Guntur district, the model was deployed last week. And now, teachers are punching in their attendance through an Aadhar-enabled biometric attendance system, a report by the government’s artificial intelligence (AI) portal stated. The state nodal officer of the project said that by using the facial recognition system, teachers can also give their attendance from their mobile phones. But they have to be present in the school as the technology is linked to the Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) and records the longitude and latitude of the place where the teacher is present.

The government said that this step was to ensure that there is accountability and discipline in the state-run institutions. The system will send an attendance alert to administrative officials via SMS telling them whether the teacher is present or absent from school. Parents will also receive SMS updates on their children’s arrival and departure from school.

The Education Policy 2021 made the formative assessment of students mandatory. Each week, teachers need to evaluate every class and make a report to gauge the understanding of the students on various lessons. However, the country is facing a shortage of teachers and with the increasing density of the population, it is difficult for a single teacher to know and improve the skills and needs of every student. AI programmes and learning apps can access the learning graph and help teachers guide and train students based on their specific requirements. The government believes it will make education more effective.

Last month, OpenGov Asia reported that the state of Telangana would use AI to collect and analyse school-related data. When assessing a student, experienced teachers can identify who is grasping the content and who is not by observing students’ body language, expressions, attentiveness, and the kind of questions they ask in the class. The new AI-based camera system and model will be able to assess the students on these attributes. It will generate a report that the teachers can use to plan additional support for the students who are graded low. The teacher can validate the recommendations and the algorithm will learn from that.

Further, the government believes AI and other emerging technologies should be taught in school to help students adapt to the job market. Recently, Madhya Pradesh announced it plans to launch a 240-hour course on AI for students from Grade 8 in July. The course will initially be unveiled in 53 schools, but more are expected to be added to the list later on. The government also said it would provide 40 computers to each of the selected schools.

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