AI technology can now manage the daily register at New Zealand schools, colleges and tertiary institutions, and could save taxpayers and the Government millions of dollars – while freeing up on average more than 100 days of learning for each student in just their primary to high school years.
It can also give the Ministry of Education critical data about how tertiary institutions are used to support future policy or funding decisions for new buildings.
Using computer vision to perform facial recognition, artificial intelligence can track the arrival and departure of students on school grounds, upload data and provide attendance records to management, the Ministry and even parents and caregivers, in real time, and monitor safety and truancy.
Brandon Hutcheson, CEO of Aware Group, says AI could eliminate one of the most time-consuming administrative tasks for any education institution, and do it with high levels of privacy.
He said the first trials will be in the tertiary sector and then, after more consultation with the ministry, boards of trustees, teachers, parents and students, it will be considered for primary and secondary education.
“The benefits across the sector are significant, from freeing up valuable time, saving money, improving security, and supporting parents and caregivers. It will also help address the growing issue of truancy and its associated costs including policing, social services and the courts,” Hutcheson said.
“On average a student will spend about three minutes per class waiting for their attendance to be taken. If we look at this across 13 years in education this can amount to over 122 days lost per student.
“As well as being the foundation for funding in education, proving attendance is an important statistic for providing pastoral care through to building development. But in its basic form, all it does is prove we are, where we are,” Hutcheson says.
The use of AI in education comes as tertiary institutions are under the Government microscope after multimillion dollar bail-outs of polytechnics over the past two years.
“AI technology has a huge role to play in helping the tertiary education sector be more efficient by ensuring monitoring of facility use is optimised and then using this data to deliver better student outcomes.
“Using AI in this way, is a very good example of technology replacing a mundane task so as to allow a more valuable activity to occur – adopting this technology to automate registers will change the dynamic of each school day and should bring significant benefits for all involved from each student, to the Government.”