Qatar IT schoolchildren monitoring programme launched

May 22, 2011

A Qatar-based private IT solutions provider has created a programme to track the movement of children as they travel to the school and back home.

Developers of the new programme, Alamin, claim that it can give real-time information about the movement of a child after he boards a school bus until he reaches school.

The parents will be informed through SMS as soon the child enters the school campus, while the school will be alerted if a child who boarded the school bus does not reach the school or home in the expected time.

The system has been tested successfully in some schools and is ready for implementation, Ajan V P, a senior official of the Mohajl group, developers of Alamin, said.

“The tragic death of Sarah Ghazdar, an Indian school student last year who was locked inside a school bus has become an eye-opener about the safety of school transport,” he said. “We have been working on this new programme for over three years, but this tragic incident has strengthened our resolve to come out with a solution. No technology can fully replace human intervention. Our objective is to reduce human errors to the minimum,” Ajan said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula.

The new system makes use of the Global Positional System (GPS), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to monitor the movement of the child.

“Alamin monitors the child from the time he or she boards the bus. The system provides real-time information about the student’s entering or leaving the school bus, which will be transported to the school authorities’ application window,” Ajan said.

Alamin identifies the child while walking into the campus, compares the information with that from the school bus and follows the movement of the child between the vehicle and the school campus.

In case of any mismatch on this information, such as missing of a child’s acknowledgement at the campus after a defined duration of arrival of his/her bus, the system alerts the authorities.

“There is no issue of intruding into the privacy of the students, since we can watch their movements only at places agreed upon by the school authorities,” Ajan said.

Every student will be given an ID card that he has to carry while boarding the bus. The monitoring is done through an electronic linking of the service providers’ application window with the students’ ID card as well as readers to be installed inside the bus and at the school gate.

If the child needs to be monitored further, for instance until he reaches the classroom, readers will be installed at the entrance of the classroom.

If the child is missing or takes a wrong bus, the authorities will be immediately alerted since the system can easily detect his absence. A failure to carry the ID card will be instantly reported.

Mohajl will also have a Network Operating Centre to monitor and ensure that the authorities have acknowledged and addressed all the alerts generated by Alamin on time. This will act as an additional check for minimising any possible human errors.

Ajan said several schools had taken interest in introducing the programme. Discussions are also underway with the education authorities in Qatar.

Another situation where this technology can play a vital role is in the event of campus evacuation procedures where the real time location identification can be a real lifesaver, he said.

Alamin will provide detailed and accurate location information of every child, which can be used to build intelligent campaigns and rules within the campus such as alerts for children moving nearer to construction areas, swimming pools etc.

“Alamin can be customised and integrated with various applications to provide an ideal solution for such critical concerns. We are planning to start with the school buses. The service will be made available to parents at affordable charges,” Ajan said.



About the author

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

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