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Makerere Installs Biometric Systems to Monitor Staff and Student Attendance :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Makerere Installs Biometric Systems to Monitor Staff and Student Attendance

The Digital Staff Access System and Student Attendance System unveiled at a concise event hosted at the College of Computing and Information Science, have already been deployed at all teaching facility entrances.
The new machine being used

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Makerere University has commissioned two biometric management systems to monitor staff and student attendance at the institution.

The Digital Staff Access System and Student Attendance System unveiled at a concise event hosted at the College of Computing and Information Science, have already been deployed at all teaching facility entrances.  

Unlike conventional biometric setups, the system at Makerere captures both facial features and thumbprints and according to Samuel Mugabi, the Director of Information Technology Services, the system has been connected to the students’ platform to enable learners to report lecturers who miss class.

He explained that because it is interconnected with the University's e-learning environment and the timetable system; when lecturers check in for classes, the system automatically generates a Quick Response (QR) Code for students to scan and confirm their attendance. 

//Cue in; the students’ platform…

Cue out… the whole essence”//  

Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University said that the system will help the University to monitor staff absenteeism and fraudulent practices. He cited an instance where a lecturer who had relocated to Addis Ababa for over two years without formally resigning from Makerere continued to draw a salary from the institution. 

//Cue in; the other one… 

Cue out… put to our use.”// 

Nawangwe told URN on the sidelines of the event that the staff access system synchronized with the timetable system, enabling it to track instances where lecturers check into the teaching building but fail to attend classes, a persistent challenge faced by the university. 

//Cue in; this is the...

Cue out… and taught or not.”// 

Nawangwe is optimistic that the system would aid in enforcing a university policy requiring students to attend at least 60 per cent of lectures to be eligible for examinations, addressing previous issues of attendance falsification. 

//Cue in; the students…

Cue out…help us a lot.”//  

Emojong Kasaija, the Guild Information Minister who represented the Guild President welcomed the system because it will monitor the attendance of students without forgery as it has been before. 

Cue in; as the students…

Cue out… of students.”// 

However, over the past seven months, lecturers, through their umbrella body MUASA, have opposed the Attendance Management System, citing concerns over more effective methods to monitor academic staff performance and productivity.  

Among the primary grievances voiced by staff is the perceived lack of adequate consultation and stakeholder engagement before implementing the biometric system, fearing it could undermine the university's mission.  

Additionally, academic staff argued that the Biometric Attendance Management system overly focuses on monitoring staff presence from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., neglecting diverse outputs such as teaching, research, publications, and community service.   

In response, Nawangwe said that lecturers intending to engage in field research should inform their department heads for exemption. According to the Makerere University Human Resource Manual, any lecturer who spends 10 working days without informing their supervisor is assumed to have absconded and the punishment is dismissal.  

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