At least for roughly 19,700 classrooms in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, long gone are the days of the homeroom teacher belting out the attendance list and manually marking “present or not present.” Instead, every student in this target area has been provided with an electronic ID card with each and every student’s pertinent personal information. Schools have been outfitted with entrance-ways that are now controlled with a swipe-pad that students must slide their ID card through to enter. Data on the student is stored and attendance is subsequently counted.
Student attendance, especially in poorer schools, is a constant challenge. In the past, attendance sheets were reviewed manually every week or so, at which point calls were made to the home to inquire about the delinquent student. Now, the system alerts teachers and administrators as to absenteeism and a call and/or text message is immediately sent to the student’s guardian. Granted, phone numbers can change and texts can be ignored, but for the most part Rio administrators report up-ticks in attendance levels and parent participation.
Additionally, teachers are also able to text students and their parent information regarding current test scores and other timely info to keep both student and parent actively involved. At a time when guidance counselors, especially in the U.S., are being cut back and all-together eliminated, employing an electronic tracking system like this makes sense regardless of country or income-level.