Teachers give biometric attendance thumbs down

Updated on Aug 30, 2012 11:34 PM IST

The Delhi High Court may have asked the Delhi University (DU) and the University Grants Commission's (UGC) on their view on the introductions of a biometric attendance system for teachers, but most teachers are vehemently protesting against it. Mallica Joshi reports.

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Hindustan Times | ByMallica Joshi, New Delhi

The Delhi High Court may have asked the Delhi University (DU) and the University Grants Commission's (UGC) on their view on the introductions of a biometric attendance system for teachers, but most teachers are vehemently protesting against it.

The teachers argue that they spend time on preparing lectures, correcting assignments and pursuing research work.

All this, they feel cannot always be done in college. So, it'd be unfair to not account for these and calculate the teaching hours in isolation, they say.

"So much of our work is invisible, largely because colleges do not have the space or the facilities required to correct assignments, meet students, or engage in research work. Having a cubicle is also a far cry," said Sanam Khanna, a teacher at Kamla Nehru College.

The DU had planned to put a biometric attendance system in place in 2009 but had to withdraw in the wake of fierce protests from the teaching community.

A principal of an off-campus college had conducted an analysis of the patterns of attendance and teaching hours. According to his analysis, teachers tend to spend an average of only 3 hours in college per day. "Despite the UGC guideline, very few teachers spend the requisite amount of time in college. Children, especially those in off-campus colleges keep complaining about classes not being conducted regularly," said the principal on condition of anonymity.

Teachers, however, rubbish these claims. "Teachers work much more than just 5 hours per day. Enforcing a system that is essentially going to be used as a tool of harassment for the teachers is a bad idea. A teacher fulfils many duties outside the confines of the college. I hope the High Court acknowledges this," said a teacher who did not want to be named.

The Delhi University Teachers' Association, meanwhile, has called for a meeting to discuss the issue on September 4.

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