MumbaiThe Maharashtra government on Friday directed all junior colleges, especially those offering science courses, to install biometric attendance system for students. A government resolution (GR) to this effect was released on Friday and colleges are supposed to implement this rule within a month.The direction comes after the government received several complaints from junior colleges about students skipping college lectures to attend coaching classes.“Students in several colleges enrol in coaching institutes and integrated coaching classes, and attend college only for practical lectures. Many junior colleges too have tied up with coaching centres. All this has to stop,” said the circular. The GR is applicable to Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad.Many city colleges have already installed biometric attendance system. “Most Class XI and XII students from the science stream stop attending lectures completely after October. The government should crack the whip on coaching institutes instead,” said Marie Fernandes, principal of St Andrew’s College, Bandra. The institute is installing the biometric attendance system.Other colleges were sceptical. “Just installing a biometric system will not be very helpful because a student could easily mark biometric attendance then leave the institute without anyone’s knowledge. Colleges will have to install Radio Frequency ID (RFID) to ensure that the entry and exit of a student is automatically recorded,” said Rajpal Hande, principal of Mithibai College, Vile Parle, which is one of the few institutes in the city which has installed RFID on their campus. He added that while biometric is an expensive technology, colleges will need a bigger investment to get RFID in place. “The government will not pay us for the technology and not all colleges can afford it. The focus, instead, should be on banning coaching institutes completely. That way students will have no choice but to attend regular lectures,” said another college principal.