Classroom cams raise debate at university
A university in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, has installed facial recognition systems in classrooms to monitor students’ behavior, sparking a heated debate online.
China Pharmaceutical University recently installed the systems in two pilot classrooms as well as school gates, dormitory entrances, the library and laboratory buildings.
Xu Jianzhen, director of the university’s library and information center, told Global Times that the systems will help teachers check student attendance and monitor behavior during the lectures.
"In the past, some students just checked their attendance and ditched the class or asked other students to check the attendance for them. Now with facial recognition, that would no longer be a problem," he said.
The moment you enter the classroom, the camera will monitor you all the way through and can tell how long you lower your head, whether you’re playing with a smartphone, whether you’re dozing off or reading other books, he added.
The news has raised wide debate on Chinese social media, with many questioning if the cameras will infringe on students’ privacy. China Pharmaceutical University is not the first university to use facial recognition technology on campus. Many universities across the country have installed cameras at campus entrances to ensure safety.
China’s top education authority on Thursday pledged to limit and regulate the use of applications with AI-powered facial recognition technology in campuses and said it hopes schools will adopt such systems prudently.
"When technology has gone too far and the legislation lags behind, we need a ’third force’ to resolve the contradiction, which is moral ethics. Technological progress must be bound by morality," Zhu Wei, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.
Monitoring teachers and students in class will result in teachers losing their authority and also poses the risk of leaking minors’ sensitive information. It is unethical, Zhu said, calling for a halt to the use of such systems in campuses.
lecture n. 演講；講稿；教訓 vt. 演講；訓誡 vi. 講課；講演
infringe vt. 侵犯；違反；破壞 vi. 侵犯；侵害
install vt. 安裝；任命；安頓
prudently adv. 謹慎地；慎重地
morality n. 道德；品行，美德