New I-cards for students will have an embedded device linked to an app on parents’ mobile phones for alerts in case of an untoward incident
Better safe than sorry — this is the guiding principle that has led a prominent city school to adopt an upgraded security mechanism to ensure the safety of all its students. The Orchid School, in Baner, which is already CCTV-compliant, has decided to track the movement of each student by installing Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon in their identity cards so that the teachers and staff can watch their movements.
This move does not come as a surprise, given the rise in the number of cases of child abuse in upscale schools across the country in recent times. Realising the limitation of CCTV cameras on its premises, the Baner school decided to go for such an upgrade.
The new technology installed on the children’s identity cards will alert teachers and other members of the staff if a child spends more than a stipulated amount of time in the washroom or if an older student is there with a younger one for a longer period of time.
Explaining the need for such an upgrade, Namrata Majhail, principal of the school, said, “There are many spots in the school where we cannot install CCTVs. This new technology in I-cards will surely help us track the students even if they are going to the washroom. We are only tracking their movements. The system also applies to staff members and visitors to the school.” Visitors to the school are not allowed entry in many areas, and the identity card on them will ensure that they maintain their presence in the vicinity allotted to them. Children’s movement can also be tracked right from the time s/he boards the bus till the time s/he is dropped back home. The security personnel will also have the added advantage of being able to identify parents who come to pick up their kids.
Majhail said, “As soon as the student nears the gate after school gives over, the monitor installed here will flash the student’s registered number and the picture of the respective parent. The security staff needs to ensure that the same person is picking up the child. In case none of the registered parents can make it to the school, they need to seek prior permission from the principal. We have also conducted training for all our staff to get acquainted with this technology.”
Explaining the technology, Avinash Sahoo, director of Amdaya Technologies said, “This is not radio frequency identification but BLE. Once a student wears this I-card even his breathing is monitored. If any untoward incident takes place, where a student falls down and mobility is arrested, the staff concerned will be alerted through an app installed on their mobile phone.”
Sahoo designed this technology with his partner Yogesh Arora. Before teaming up to start Amdaya, the former was the head of Center of Excellence, digital technology, while the latter was a delivery director with an IT company. “Even as IT professionals we always considered how technology can help society be secure. Schools are such places which require safety and security. Hence, we invented something for children,” said Arora.
The school ran a pilot project for students of classes XI and XII, and after its successful run, the same technology will be used for all other 1,200- plus students.
Majhail said, “It is always better to take precautionary measures instead of discussing any untoward situation. We also discussed about this technology at the PTA and all the parents have readily welcomed it after many discussions with school authorities and officers of the tech company.”
Aparent, whose son studies in Class VI, said, “This is a completely innovative way to track our child’s movement in the school. It is also important as these days we are worried about our children after hearing about many unfortunate incidents in society. It is a welcome move and we are also ready to support the school in launching this technology for everyone.” The tech will also send limited alerts to parents who install the app on their mobile phones.
Apart from staving off any untoward incident, the school also believes that this technology will help them keep an eye on notorious students. The school has created a task force of class teachers, subject teachers, management officials and the principal, who will receive alerts in various instances. The staff will also be alerted about children leaving earlier from the school than the stipulated hours.
█ This is an innovative way to track our child’s movement in the school. It is a welcome move and we are ready to support the school in launching this technology
— Parent of a student