Qatar-based school to implement high-tech solution to avoid bus tragedies

July 18, 2010
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An Indian school in Qatar will in September implement a high-tech solution that will enable administrators and parents to monitor students’ use of the school buses.

The decision was made following the tragic death of a kindergarten student in May after she was left in a locked minivan for hours.

Called Automated Child Tracking System (ACTS), the state-of-the-art monitoring system will be adopted by Birla Public School when the school reopens after the summer vacations, officials said.

“We have been working on this system for quite some time so children can be monitored to ensure their security and safety,” A K Shrivastava, the school principal, said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula.

A Qatar-based IT solutions provider, iNet Middle East, will implement the automated Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-based student tracking system in the school’s buses. iNet uses a combination of  RFID, GPS (Global Positioning System) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) technologies.

RFID is an automatic identification system that enables data to be transmitted by a portable device, called tag, read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application.

All the buses of BPS will be equipped with RFID readers and each student will be given an RFID card that incorporates GPS and GPRS technologies, with all the student’s particulars printed on it, the daily said.

The parents, through the technology, will get a text message every time the student gets on or off the bus on the way to school or home. Alert messages will also be sent to the school authorities.

“This technology will give peace of mind not only to the parents but also to us,” said Shrivastava, adding parents had been consulted with regard to the scheme and they had given positive feedback.

“Parents favourited the system because ultimately it means security and safety for the students,” he said. Other schools could adopt the system in the future.

Sunil Nair, iNet manager, said the application software displays a real-time view of the location of the bus as well as the student inside the bus at any time.

“The system can be configured and could be converted into a smart card in the future to have other functions,” Nair said. “RFID readers could be installed in other locations in the school as needed to further ensure the safety of students.”

The text messages would be very specific. “For instance, if a child is still inside the bus five minutes after the vehicle’s engine is turned off, a text message will be sent to the school authorities,” he said.

ACTS will be introduced in a phased manner and the school will in September launch Phase 1 that covers KG I, KG II, Class I and Class II students.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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