Biometrics Help Fight Education Fraud
November 10, 2016
Thousands of ‘ghost’ schools and teachers are now being uncovered by the Pakistani Government thanks to biometric technology. These are non-existent schools and teachers, created purely on paper, that are fraudulently receiving vital government funds. Biometrics are helping now to uncover and stop the deception.
The level of fraud that has been uncovered in the Pakistani education system is distressing. It’s a country that desperately needs to, and is trying very hard, to improve education for its young people. A report published by the Education Ministry last year showed that one third of children of a primary school age were not in school. And that 42 percent of the population over the age of 10 are illiterate.
The country has a lot of work to do to improve education standards, and the last thing it needs is such high levels of fraud, diverting funds away from tackling the real problem. Last year, in a crackdown on the activities, some 650 ghost schools were exposed and removed from the system in the worst offending region, the Baluchistan province. In addition, some 450 absent teachers were ‘sacked’.
Biometrics tackle fraud
Clearly the remote nature of some parts of Pakistan makes it a difficult job to keep track of certain schools. However, since May of last year, biometric fingerprints have been used to register and confirm the identity of teachers. The latest reports on the efforts revealed that some 84,000 teachers had been verified in the Baluchistan area, allowing as many as 3000 schools to stay open and receive their proper funding.
We’ve reported before on the ways that governments with widespread fraud issues draining vital funds can tackle the problem with biometrics. Nigeria did something similar, and cracked down on non-existent civil service workers claiming government salaries.
I think we can all agree that any fraud is a pretty deplorable thing to do, but to steal funds meant for the education of children is appalling. Hopefully, with the addition of biometrics into the government’s auditing system, such activities can be put to a stop.
It shows once again the power and potential of biometrics to simply, but very reliably verify, individuals and their identity so that you can manage their access to systems and benefits. The application of such technology can not only prevent misuse and fraud; it can help change lives in very meaningful ways.