Forcing education, just like Saudization: Saudi Arabia imposes fingerprinting, biometric technology to force public school attendance
Several public schools across the Kingdom have implemented a biometric fingerprinting system to improve attendance. The new system is linked with an electronic software device to keep parents informed of absence and delays.
The move comes despite the ministry’s assertion that it has not endorsed the fingerprinting system for teachers, although employees at several ministry departments already touch in and out every day.
School principals favor the new system, which they say will enhance discipline and compliance with regulations.
Several school principals have also installed cameras to monitor activity on school premises amid efforts to boost safety and productivity. Cameras will cover outside yards, hallways, courts, cafeterias and classrooms. Many have said that the new electronic devices were bought with financial allocations.
The cost of a fingerprinting system and camera exceeds SR20,000 (5000 USD).
The Education Ministry has issued strict directives to education departments to draft a plan to counter absenteeism among students, especially around holiday and examination periods.
In fact, the Education Department recently demoted several principals to classroom teachers due to leniency. “Reports on school performance at the end of each academic year will take into account a collective point system for attendance,” said one source.
The ministry has warned education departments across the country to monitor the attendance of both teachers and students in conjunction with the newly introduced Noor Education Management system, a database containing comprehensive data on student admissions and information.