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Naughty or Nice: China is Tracking School Students Through 'Smart' Uniforms

The uniforms have a host of other features including alerting appropriate authorities if a student falls asleep in class, as well as letting parents monitor what their kids' are buying and even setting spending limits.

Shantanu David | News18.com

Updated:December 26, 2018, 10:24 AM IST
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Efforts Grow to Help Students Evaluate What They See Online (Representative Image, Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Representative Image, Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chinese kids playing hooky better watch out; big government is watching.

According to a report by The Epoch Times, students at more than 10 schools in Guizhou Province, one of China’s poorer provinces, as well as the neighboring Guangxi region now have to wear “intelligent uniforms,” which are embedded with electronic chips that track their movements.

The 'smart' uniforms help school officials, teachers, and parents track the movements of students in real-time, Lin Zongwu, principal of the No. 11 School of Renhuai in Guizhou Province, told the state-run newspaper Global Times on December 20. If students skip school without permission, an alarm will be triggered.

The uniforms have a host of other features including alerting appropriate authorities if a student falls asleep in class, as well as letting parents monitor what their kids' are buying and even setting spending limits.

More Black Mirror-ish is the tracking technology being embedded into the uniforms with databases being set up to match each uniform to each student's face, with facial-recognition equipment being installed at school entrances that can match a student’s face with the chip embedded in the uniform. This is to prevent students from exchanging uniforms or trying to manipulate the system.

According to authorities, attendance in schools has seen a surge since the new tech has been implemented now that students are aware that their every movement is being tracked.

While this may sound more and more like a police state's gambit, Chinese officials insist that it is part of the country's emphasis on digital education and smart campuses.

On its official website, Guizhou Guanyu, the firm that designs the chips and embeds, explains that it was established “to respond to the country’s and the Communist Party’s call” for the application of “smart school campuses”.

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