Worried over falling attendance in schools in its tribal areas and to check manipulation of registers by teachers, the Thane Zilla Parishad has turned to biometrics to ensure students mark themselves present with thumb impressions. This is a first in Maharashtra where the tribal areas are more infamous for malnutrition cases.

“We wanted to curb the dropout rate in schools in the tribal areas, so we decided to start this project in Jawahar taluka. We are also trying out the system in the Ambernath taluka which has both urban and rural areas,” said Subhash Hazare, Chief Executive Officer of the Thane Zilla Parishad which has allocated Rs 69 lakh for the project that will cover 352 schools.

The dropout rate in the primary division is nearly 10 per cent and in the upper primary division, the rate is around 40 per cent, he said.The musters in these tribal area schools, he said, had been manipulated. “There is hardly any scope of manipulation in the biometric system. Teachers have to register their attendance twice a day while students have to do it once a day,” he said.

Jawahar and Ambernath Zilla Parishad schools have 23,000 students who have to register their fingerprints.