The Department of School Education, Government of Nagaland is planning to roll out a face recognition-based attendance monitoring system across all the government schools in the state. This is evident from a tender that the Education Department floated on March 2, 2022 as reported by MediaNama.
“The tender has since been taken up by unknown parties, a government source confirmed, and has been removed from both the Nagaland Education Department and Government of India’s e-Procurement websites,” MediaNama reported.
The scope of the project covers the entire government schooling structure which includes 1,953 government schools under the Nagaland Board of School Education. Notably, the state’s 717 private schools are exceptions to the rule.
According to the Terms of Reference of the tender, a copy of which is with Mokokchung Times, “The Department of School Education realizes that while teaching positions at all levels of schooling were filled with regular teachers, there was a phenomenon of ‘proxy-teachers’ across the state, particularly in the more remote areas. This involved appointed teachers not taking classes themselves and instead sending unknown substitutes on their behalf.” This “phenomenon” appears to be the chief reason behind the department’s plan to roll out the face recognition system.
As per the tender, the prospective service provider is expected to be experienced in or have ongoing assignments of maintaining attendance monitoring systems for schools, educational institutes or offices in the last five years. It also expects an implementation methodology proposal from the service provider rather than have the vendor follow governmental conditions. The tender’s criteria specifications make it look as if the department is looking to put the entire onus of the face recognition program and its management to the third party service provider.
The proposed Teacher Attendance Monitoring System (TAMS) using face recognition technology is projected to be for a period of 4 years. “The service provider is also expected to design, develop and deploy software, and maintenance services for TAMS, for all 1953 schools across 16 districts of Nagaland for a period of 48 months,” the Terms of Reference of the tender stated.
The purpose of TAMS is to provide all the schools, teachers, and school leaders in Nagaland with the necessary software and hardware tools in order to report daily teacher attendance in a reliable and timely manner. For this purpose, TAMS will specifically employ the facial recognition technology for person identification, along with location and time stamping.
The tender, or Request for Expression of Interests, was issued by the Project Director, Nagaland Education Project – The Lighthouse (NECTAR), Department of School Education, Govt. of Nagaland, Upper Bayavu Hill, Kohima.