Chinese schools have started enforcing “smart uniforms” built into computer chips to monitor student movements and prevent them from skipping classes.
- Skipping class or leaving class without permission triggers an alarm
- A GPS system tracks student movements even beyond the school grounds
- Beijing has regularly called on all schools to develop “smart campuses”
Eleven schools in southwest Guizhou Province introduced the uniforms, which were developed by local tech company Guizhou Guanyu Technology.
When students enter the school, the time and date are recorded with a short video that parents can access through a mobile app.
Facial recognition further ensures that each uniform is worn by its rightful owner to prevent students from cheating on the system.
Skipping classes sets off an alarm to notify teachers and parents of absenteeism, while an automatic voice alarm activates if a student leaves school without permission.
A GPS system tracks student movements even beyond the school grounds.
The two chips – inserted into the shoulders of each uniform – can withstand up to 500 washes and 150 degrees Celsius, the company told state media Global Times.
Alarms will also sound if a student falls asleep in class, while parents can monitor their child’s purchases at school and set spending limits through a mobile app, according to the company’s official website.
The company released a public statement via the popular Chinese social media site Weibo, saying the uniforms “focus on safety concerns” and provide a “smart management method” that benefits students, teachers and parents.
Guanyu Technology’s marketing director also boasted about the uniforms’ capabilities on a personal Weibo account.
On its website, the development company said the uniforms were designed to “fully implement the state’s policy of actively building smart campuses and smart education management for educational development. “.
In recent years, Beijing has regularly called on all schools to develop âsmart campusesâ with the aim of digitizing education.
âDon’t children have human rights and privacy? “
Despite all the benefits touted by the company, the uniforms have generated negative reactions on social media.
âDon’t children have human rights and privacy? User Dawson-HO said.
But blogger Yi Zhi Sirius defended the new uniforms, saying “the uniforms will be useful in locating missing students.”
Speaking to the Global Times, Lin Zongwu, principal of Renhuai No. 11 School in Guizhou, said that although the school has the ability to follow students at all times, it uses this technology sparingly.
âWe choose not to verify the precise location of students after school, but when the student misses and skips classes, the uniforms help locate them,â Mr. Lin said, adding that the attendance rate had increased since the introduction of smart uniforms.
Guanyu Technology responded to criticism on Weibo, saying the company “respects and protects human rights.”
âThe smart uniform doesn’t follow every movement of the students all the time,â the company wrote.