In foreign countries, there are many ways to keep track of students to ensure they are in school when they should be. In Thailand, most schools enforce a uniform rule and students caught during school hours in a uniform at an entertainment location can be reported to the police to send them back to their educational facilities. In Brazil, things go a step further. Not only do students have to wear uniforms, their clothes are outfitted with micro-locator chips that alert parents if their students aren’t where they’re supposed to be.
In the state of Bahia, Brazil, at least 20,000 students in the 25 selected public students from the city of Vitoria da Conquista are required to wear uniforms with these chips, whether they are installed in their T-shirts, under their sleeves, or behind a school badge. These students, between the ages of 4 to 14, must keep their “intelligent uniforms” on during school hours. When students get to school, parents will get a text message to let them know their children have arrived. If students step outside of school premises or do not show up to a class after 20 minutes, parents will also receive a text that reads, “Your child has still not arrived at school.” If a student has been alerted of cutting classes three times, parents must explain their absences or the student gets reported to authorities.
“We noticed that many parents would bring their children to school but would not see if they actually entered the building because they always left in a hurry to get to work on time,” said Coriolano Moraes, the city’s education director. “They would always be surprised when told of the number times their children skipped class.”
The concept is similar to chips that help track and locate pets. The chips are reportedly so strong that “tampering [is] virtually impossible,” and these intelligent uniforms can be washed and ironed without any damage. City government is investing $670,000 to design the intelligent uniforms to address the unacceptable number of students skipping class, with the hope that by 2013, the city’s 43,000 students will all be required to wear these micro-locator chips. Brazil official believes this method will be a solution to keeping students in school, and hopes to be a trendsetter for other cities and countries to follow suit.
Do you believe government officials are going too far by forcing students to wear locator chips and track them like pets? The idea seemed interesting until the comparison to locating pets, because it reminded us of those leashes parents put on young kids to keep them in sight. Children aren’t pets, and shouldn’t be treated like them, but they do need an authoritative method to keep them in class. Another thing to think about is how easily it could be for students to bring a change of clothes after they’ve arrived to school to keep their intelligent uniform within school grounds while they’re out cutting class. Never underestimate children’s intelligence!
Image Credit: Flickr / luck-de-zeeuw