Capital administration fails to install biometric system in Islamabad schools

  • Official says biometric attendance system to be fully functional in April

ISLAMABAD: The government under its much-trumpeted Prime Minister’s Education Reforms Programme (PMERP) has started the installation of biometric system to ensure attendance of teachers but the system could face further delay due to the slow pace of work on the project.

Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry had reportedly told the National Assembly that installation of biometric systems in 422 model schools and colleges of Islamabad, under Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), was in process and would be completed by the end of December 2017.

However, sources told Pakistan Today that the biometric systems were not functional even in a single educational institute hitherto.

The government had decided to install biometric attendance system to ensure timely attendance of teachers of government schools and colleges in order to improve the system in the federal capital.

Sources said that like all other targets under the much-hyped PMERP, the biometric system was also facing a delay and it was not installed in the given timeframe.

During a visit to various educational institutes, it was revealed that the biometric system had been installed in some schools and colleges but it was yet to be made functional.

Talking to Pakistan Today, the teaching staff expressed their reservations over the installation of the biometric attendance system, pleading that there was no need of it since they were performing their duties diligently.

However, some teachers supported the idea of installation of the biometric system as it would help eliminate the misperception about teachers’ attendance, which was widely believed that teachers were not performing their duties properly.

They said that though the system had been installed in various colleges and schools, it did not start so far, adding that they were told that it would be functional soon. The automated system will also enhance the FDE’s ability to effectively evaluate employees and manage their attendance reports.

When contacted, System Analyst Tallat Saeed said that the installation of biometric machines was in progress and the installation work had been completed in two sectors i.e. urban and Bhara Kahu.

He said that the project would be completed in March and the new academic session scheduled to start from April would be on the biometric system as the machines had been installed in 50 per cent of the educational institutes so far.

Tallat claimed that the installation work was going at a good pace and the system was being set up in around 10 to 15 schools on a daily basis.

He went on to say that it is a well-centralised system and every school report would separately be shown at its dashboard.

To a question as to how it was possible to complete 50 per cent of the remaining work in one month when to complete 50 per cent work took such a long time, he said that at the beginning, the order and delivery of machines took much time because the special sim-fixed machines had to be manufactured as these were not ordinary machines.

He said that the biometric machines would be installed in all educational institutes from primary to colleges.

It is worth mentioning that the PMERP initiated by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in December 2015 and a brainchild of Maryam Nawaz, lost the attraction after her departure from the PM House following the disqualification of his father by the Supreme Court in Panama [Papers] case.

Maryam Nawaz, through a committee comprising few MNAs and FDE officials, was monitoring the project aimed at improving the infrastructure of 422 educational institutions functioning under the FDE.