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Education at Face Value

Here’s how facial recognition technology is helping improve attendance at government schools.


To reduce middle school dropout rates at government-run educational institutions in India and track attendance accurately, Sai Kiran Reddy and Deepak Kumar, under DISQ, developed an innovative digital technology-powered solution called VIDYAROHA (meaning, love for learning).

With the aim to make tracking attendance non-intrusive, accurate, and less time-consuming, the team integrated phone photography with facial recognition technology and piloted the solution across three government-run schools in Nashik city.  

A Digital Solution

VIDYAROHA is based on a system that runs on an Android-based app for teachers, who can click pictures of the students present in class and upload them to the server. Once saved, the photos are processed using facial recognition technology and compared against base data. If there is a match, the student is marked present.

This solution is currently tracking over 50,000 school students, while also being used at around 45 Tata Strive centers and by professional training platform Edubridge in about 18 states. 

The team has also compiled and automated the several manual and redundant forms that teachers have to fill out in addition to their non-academic duties. These have been collated into a single app-based form, saving nearly 600 man hours per year per school.



Making the Numbers Add Up

As a result of this deployment, attendance has become consistent and regular – in fact, it went up by 10% at the participating schools. The VIDYAROHA team is now focusing on increasing the accuracy of their algorithm to make the system 100% fool-proof. In the meantime, teachers have been given limited authority to edit the attendance in case of technical issues.

Efforts are on to expand this solution to serve other fields, such as retail and sanitation. From security guards at a commercial center in Nashik to drivers for a tea producer in Mumbai, many other pilot projects are currently active across different domains and organizations. 

A new feature of emotion analysis and attention span detection has also been added to VIDYAROHA, with a pilot project currently active at a large nationalized bank and a large-format retail store.

Here, the utility is to engage regular customers who walk in to the establishment and alert employees to their presence. For customers, this means a personalized buyer experience, whereas the establishment benefits from the heightened engagement. 

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