DMIS parents start online campaign against electronic ID cards

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Parents of students studying in the Doha Modern Indian School (DMIS) have started a campaign on change.org against the introduction of electronic tracking system from next academic year.

According to a report on The Peninsula, the parents are planning to submit the petition to the school management and Ministry of Education after collecting signatures.

DMIS has made it mandatory for all the students to have the rather pricey tags, Student Tracking and Ridership Solution (STRS) based on Bluetooth technology with real time visibility at its campus.

STRS makes use of Bluetooth Low Energy Technology which involves short range transmission to communicate between various electronic devices like identification tags used by students and Bluetooth beacons hosted at the school and in buses.

“The tracking system will help monitor the students right from their boarding station. The RFID student tracking system in buses helps to check if the child is entering the right bus and getting off at the right stop. Within the school, the system will mark entry of each student, and detect if students are elsewhere on the campus, when classes are going on,” an official told The Peninsula.

However, parents have raised concern over issues ranging from violation of human rights, to infringement of privacy to health risks associated with the new surveillance system.

Also the parents have found themselves forced to pay for the new identification tag, which cost QR1,200 per child a year.

“We are concerned that use of radio frequency ID cards for prolonged duration on a daily basis would expose our children (aged 3.5 to 17 years) to health risks,” the petition on Change.org said.

“As per the school, the ID cards are being introduced to enforce the safety and discipline of students by real time location monitoring of students. However we do not believe in enforcing discipline by inducing fear into the child of being tracked all the time. Rather discipline should be nourished within the child in a constructive way.”

“The school is charging a very high price of QAR.1200 per student each year for the ID card. This is a huge burden on parents, particularly for those parents who have more than one child studying in the school.

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The petition seeking earliest intervention of Ministry of Education has been signed by over 200 parents so far.

Earlier, a number of parents of students at DMIS met officials of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education earlier to express their distress over the issue.

Published on 12 February 2017

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