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Do children need to be monitored with RFIDs ?

Wednesday، 15 February 2017 10:45 PM

Dear Sir,
Parents of students of an Indian school are in a fix, with the new academic year around the corner.
When the re-registration for the next academic year started, the school administration included a new and highly-overpriced fee of QR1,200 for an RFID card per annum for each child.
This was done by the school authorities without taking into account several concerns the parents had raised regarding the radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.
To the queries of the parents, the only answer they gave was – the Ministry of Education has approved it.
Please let me list some of the major concerns of the parents about the electronic tracking system:
1. Health Issues – RFID involves sources of electromagnetic radiation in close proximity of children on the school campus, classroom and transport.
The effect of such radiation on human health, especially in children, is still a grey area and its safety parameters need to be researched and studied.
This indeed is the primary concern of most parents.
2. Psychological Issues – Schools are the places where children hone their skills and knowledge and get prepared to face the challenges awaiting them ahead.
The constant monitoring and tracking of their movements using an RFID device may leave a lasting negative impact on their psychological development, and is an encroachment on their privacy and civil liberties as well.
3. Privacy and Rights Violation – RFID monitoring will hinder the growth of students into normal and whole individuals as it will dissuade them from learning to express their thoughts, and curtail their freedom of speech and movement, which are basic values of human rights.
For example, a child, who needs counselling may be ashamed to go to a counsellor for fear of having to face humiliation.
Or children may withhold the need to use rest rooms due to the constant fear of being monitored.
4. Inhumane Practice – It is indeed disheartening to hear of an educational institution that is supposed to instil in our children the values of trust, honesty and respect; by introducing these tags they are sending just the opposite message, “You are not trustworthy and are suspicious”.
They may feel they are being treated like animals (as many of them know of pets being implanted with RFID).
It is inhumane to tag and track children like livestock or products in an industrial warehouse.
5. Hidden Readers and Tags – These can be fixed almost anywhere and people may be monitored without their knowledge, unaware if he/ she is being tagged and can amount to unreasonable search and again an encroachment on privacy, all under the pretext of maintaining discipline.
6. Misinformation / Misuse – The RFID tags can be tampered with – by accident or with intent – to be misused in various ways to cheat or outsmart the system by children who loathe the idea of being tagged.
The same goes for the data collected, if they are used for purposes other than what they are collected for in the first place or if an unauthorised person gains access to it.
7. Social, Cultural, Ethical and Religious Issues – Social, cultural, ethical and religious beliefs are part of families.
The introduction of mandatory RFID badges in schools brings into the picture a plethora of conflicts based on these factors.
8. Outrageous cost – The cost of QR1,200/per year for a child for an RFID (tag) is just adding to the burden on the parents who are already shelling out a huge amount as tuition and other fees every year.
It must be noted that this new and fancy ID is not at all improving the quality of academics.
Besides, security personnel and the CCTV surveillance in and around the school are enough to maintain discipline.
Parents feel that such new technologies should be introduced in schools only after sufficient deliberation, discussions and consensus among all the parties involved – children, parents, teachers, school management, and officials from the respective ministries.
All parties concerned should be aware of the purpose of introducing the RFID tags and their long-term side effects on the overall development of children, particularly when serious concerns have been raised about the hazards of the device.

(Name and address supplied)

Add Comment

By: Suraj

الخميس، 16 فبراير 2017 02:20 م

As a parent, we are against RFID tagging. The school is trying to implement this system without convincing parents.

By: Suren

الخميس، 16 فبراير 2017 02:19 م

This is indeed ridiculous! Why should parents risk the health of their children for the financial benefit of the school in this matter? It is quite obvious that radiation will impact on the brains of the children who are young. Hence, proceeding with this RFID system is totally unsafe and a health hazard to the children. Thank you for your prompt attention and action. <br> <br>

By: pramod

الخميس، 16 فبراير 2017 11:38 م

I would like to highlight the following 2 concerns pertaining to the implementation of the RFID, 1. Health concern: School shall provide a valid certificate stating that there is no health hazard attached with the RFIDs. Certificate shall necessarily be approved by Ministry of health (or any other concerned government authority) and shall be in school letter head format. Just passing a certificate from the RFID vendor cannot be reckoned as validated certificate. In this part of the world it is not difficult to get a tailored certificate from the vendors as per client requirements. Since this system is being implemented right from KG1 class, ideally school should have collected parent’s opinion before enforcing it. This was not done. 2. Exorbitant fees: School is charging huge fees from each student (QAR 1200 per student) yearly. This is very much a blown up price and is inflicting huge financial burden on the parents. It looks like school wants to buy back all the RFID investment cost in the very first year itself. This is a clear case of looting the pockets of the parents. UAE Indian schools charge AED 100 for the implementation of RFID system, DPS Sharjah and Leaders private school to name a few. Same Indian school which charge QAR 1200 for RFID, is also charging transportation fees almost the double in comparison with the other Indian schools in Doha. No school shall be allowed to set wrong trends in the market. Holy purpose of education shall not be neither forgotten nor allowed to get tainted with the vested business interests. Thanks to Gulf times for highlighting this issue. Let us all preserve the sanctity of our educational system.

By: Gopal Sharma

الجمعة، 17 فبراير 2017 12:52 م

We are dead against the RFID introduction. This appears to be a commercially motivated decision that has not been thought through! this is absolutely wrong on part of the school management. RFID's health, social, privacy and rights related dimensions needs to be studied well before such an initiative is implemented. School management should take consent from parents instead of unilateral decision. Also, why only one school in whole Doha is keen to adopt it when it has not even been properly studied and clearly approved by ministry of health in Qatar? We urge the school management to take back this decision and also request competent authorities in MoH and MoE to look into this matter. This kind of serious issue which impacts the health, well-being and development of our children should only be governed by a state wide policy and not decided on whims of one school management.

By: Johnny

الجمعة، 17 فبراير 2017 01:21 م

Why are parents not being involved, when it comes to matters regarding their children? I hope the concerned authorities take matters such as these seriously put a stop to such invasion of children's privacy. Discipline and Respect should be inculcated in children through proper formation and love for the system, not through fear and punishment, which will have a negative impact on the minds of the children

By: Riyaz

الجمعة، 17 فبراير 2017 01:30 م

Schools under Taleb group are trying to loot the parents in a country where admissions are getting tighter year by year. Apart from various health issues which we all know, this can still be implemented for an annual fee of QR100 where in these schools are charging 1200QR and forcefully asking parents to sign the clause on this to re-register the child!!! Seems like they feel, there won't be anyone to question them. Pure Arrogance!

By: Rheanka

الجمعة، 17 فبراير 2017 07:25 م

One of the main causes of cancer is radiation which we are exposed to in various ways. In a time where we are trying to reduce the exposure to various radiation, the school is implementing a system which will add on to the radiation exposure even while travelling. Children as young as 3 years to 4 years will be forced to use these cards for 8hrs - 9hrs a day, for 12 years of their lives. The result will be an entire generation who will have low immunity levels leading to various illnesses due to radiation exposure. As parents we are very worried about the health of our children and hence these RFID cards should not be implemented at all.

By: Mary

السبت، 18 فبراير 2017 12:09 ص

Schools should not be allowed to propose and implement any thing out of the blue, there should be a process by which the active consent and approval of the Parents body is obtained before such things are done. Here they are trying to make a fast buck and fill their coffers in the name of education, hope government departments take note and listen to the parents opinions also of the different issues related to these fancy Id's before giving the go ahead for such schemes.

By: Poonam

السبت، 18 فبراير 2017 10:45 ص

We are against RFID mainly because of possible health issues and the cost which is really a matter of concern.

By: Sana

السبت، 18 فبراير 2017 12:06 م

The Indian School which is introducing the RFID system and is aiming at children security, I have a Question for them: Where was the security for children in the year 2016-2017 where no ID Cards were issued? I got my child enrolled in the year 2016-2017; right from the admission till date, there was no ID Card issued. Not even a temp one. When I asked a couple of times a small piece of Xerox was handed to me in the name of ID Card. 1. At that time, children security was not a concern? 2. Parents who paid 400 QR as ID Cards, no ID Cards were issued to them. Why? 3. Now they are asking for RFID with extreme high cost, which will impact both the health of the students and also loot the parents of their hard earned money. 4. Consent from parents is not taken, and the school informed us at the peak time when we cannot get admission in any other school. 5. This is a blackmail situation; where school is telling the parents to accept the reregistration with the RFID fee of QR 1200 or else no admission. 6. Apart from the RFID there a lot of issues this school is having and it is going unaddressed. 7. The school Principal and Management is not even acknowledging any of our concerns or any emails. 8. I raised a concern through emails many times with regards to other issues, it was not even acknowledged. The parents of that Indian School has raised a petition online, Check below for that:

By: Varinder Singh

السبت، 18 فبراير 2017 07:32 م

School has not ethically right they are putting children on health risk without their parents concern and moreover on parents money. Also against human rights. Please support us to inform Qatar Authorities about the loot of School.

By: ali faisal

الأحد، 19 فبراير 2017 10:19 ص

Completely agree with above comments. I believe that the school's policy is not ethical and is also unmindful of children's health.

By: Bittu

الأحد، 19 فبراير 2017 12:04 م

As a parent I do not support the use of RFID, firstly it is not certain thta it is safe, secondly it is over priced the school is trying to make money and using this as an excuse,finally there is absolutely no need for such kind of monitoring. Your article has clearly mentioned about the draw backs and as parents we do not support this initiative.

By: Rashmi

الأحد، 19 فبراير 2017 12:12 م

I am against the use of RFID to track students in school because: 1. Health reasons: there are no scientific studies done on children to study the effects of the kind of bluetooth they are planning to use. If the school wants to expose our kids to any kind of radiating, they have to obtain permission from ALL parents and provide in writing that they take responsibility of any health issues that may arise even in the long run because of the RFID. 2. Psychological issues: children will have to live in constant fear of being tracked in the school, frequency of bathroom trips etc. The school has to take responsibility if any psychological issues that may arise inn the students because of RFID usage. 3. The school had sufficient security personnel and CCTV coverage to ensure the kind if safety they want for the students. Implementing use of RFID will make this security lax and things might be worse than the situation in the school right now 4. The students will learn to cheat by tampering with the RFID our doing other things that never happen in the school right now. DMIS has a very good controlled environment and discipline that will just go backwards with implementation of the RFID. 5. DMIS did not issue any ID in the current academic year and managed very well even without it. In the past few years, the ID issued had students' pictures taken many years ago and it was impossible to identify whose ID it was. What is the real reason for introducing RFID this year? Parents should have a say in what their children are exposed to.

By: Rahul

الأحد، 19 فبراير 2017 02:24 م

I oppose implementation of RFID for kids in schools due to long term health issues kids would face and psychological problems kids face due to constant monitoring. In the interest of above RFID should be banned in schools.

By: Suren

الجمعة، 24 فبراير 2017 12:45 م

Dear Editor, Greetings! Thank you for publishing our comments on this matter and would like to add on to say the School or its Management has only shown deaf ear towards the Parents until yesterday. They have not consulted Parents and the following Law by HH has a clear picture about this, as follows: Is the School and its Management above the Law of Qatar? Kindly intervene in all ways possible and involve Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of ICT along with CBSE India and Indian Embassy to bring an end to this matter abolishing RFID Card System in this School. Appreciate your every support and assistance in resolving this Health, Privacy and last but not the least Cost factor issue resolved once and for all. My opinion was clearly voiced yesterday that the concern is clearly Health of our Children, Privacy breach by tracking their Toilet movements (clearly identified and mentioned in the undertaking) and did tell them even if you want to give this to us free, I along with majority of the Parents would not want this System implemented in the School at all! Yours sincerely, Suren V Govind