Microchip monitoring in Brazilian city

By 2013, all 43 000 students in Vitoria da Conquista’s public school system will have to wear school uniforms in which microchips have been embedded. The Brazilian city’s education officials have decided that this is the best way to combat high levels of truancy.

Although the initiative has cost local government US$670 000, parents and officials alike believe it’s the best way to keep children where they belong during school hours. Schools are naturally also in favour of the system which, say system designers, will be cheaper and more effective than the GPS systems proposed for US schools. The chips – embedded under the school’s coat of arms on uniform T-shirts, which can be washed and ironed without causing damage – will activate when a student enters any of the access points at school. A text message will automatically be sent to parents if their child hasn’t been logged into the system within 20 minutes after classes start.

Critics say that the chips used are too similar to those used to track pets, and using such a system is an infringement of the students’ dignity and rights.

Category: Winter 2012

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