the role of face authentication in africas
the role of face authentication in africas

The Role of Face Authentication in Africa’s Education Sector in this Digital Economy


Facial recognition technology is now being introduced across various aspects of public life and being implemented across a range of social realms in recent times. In a functional sense, facial recognition applications promise multiple benefits and conveniences including speedy and secure transactions, customized services, and enhanced public safety and security. At its core, facial authentication transforms the process of identification from active targeting to passive and generalized recognition. By default, everyone who passes in front of a camera is identified as long as the data has been documented in the database, these databases contain large numbers of photographed faces with associated names and other personally identifiable information.

However, in this article, we seek to explore the specific benefits of using facial authentication systems like myidentitypay facial recognition system in schools. Facial authentication’s only task is to confirm a user’s identity, verifying that a person is who he/she says he/she is by checking to see if the credentials they present match the credentials in an authentication platform back-end. Your identity is proven/confirmed just by presenting your face. Of particular interest here is how facial recognition technologies are beginning to be implemented in school settings and their significant positive developments in the educational sector.

Indeed, there are now various educational applications of facial recognition and facial detection — including campus security systems, automated roll-calls, and student emotion and attention monitoring in more advanced and developed climes. Facial recognition technologies possess the advantage of not necessarily demanding individuals to physically present themselves for inspection ensuring to put an end to the impending gaps and oversights that arise when human teachers are tasked with repeatedly conducting roll-calls of large student groups. This further modifies the mass monitoring of large groups of people continuously and at a less costly price as the quality of cameras in consumer electronics (such as laptops and smartphones) has enabled the development of relatively cheap software and apps offering device-based facial recognition today.

Beyond tracking physical bodies, facial recognition is also being used in several ‘virtual learning’ contexts, for instance, they are now being developed as a means of ensuring the integrity of various aspects of online courses. This includes regulating access to online educational content and using webcam-based facial recognition to authenticate online learners (confirming that the students engaging in online learning activities are actually who they claim to be). This is highly essential in taking Africa’s education to the next platform, for instance, to complete an online examination, administrators through facial authentication can enrol and authenticate users’ identity to be sure that the same students who enrolled are the ones writing the exam.

Attendance tracking can be time-consuming for examination bodies in Nigeria, such as West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination(UTME), National Examination Council NECO, and others that still implement the practice for many valid reasons. For as long as this process continues to be the norm, both the students and staff will have to spend more time and energy recording attendance. The use of Facial recognition technology, however, ensures attendance is done seamlessly and automatically, thereby saving time.

Similarly, there is a growing interest in using facial recognition technology for e-assessment security — verifying the identity of students taking computer-based tests and examinations, and affirming their continued presence during the whole examination period. Facial recognition in schools eases attendance monitoring to its simplest form. Carrying a photo ID on school premises may soon become outdated as advances in artificial intelligence have paved the way for making facial recognition technology available and worth implementing in schools. Although Fingerprint has been used for a while and has recorded few successes, it, unfortunately, has a limitation of hardware devices available which the student has to be physically present at a location for authentication.

Face authentication on the other hand eases the shortcomings that come with the fingerprint as the face is used as an index of identity, and it can be used for recognizing students without requiring action or gesture by the students. In this case, a student need not swipe a card, enter a key code, or sign a sheet, the integrated camera system automatically recognizes a student and makes a database entry.

Over time, data collected from this technology could help administrators design more friendly learning environments and experiences while improving the effectiveness of class scheduling — administrators can see which class dates and times are most and least popular, and improve schedules accordingly. If there are no formal means of tracking attendance and engagement, examination institutions find it difficult to implement these measurements but Myidentitypay’s facial authentication system has made it easier and faster.

Therefore, it is advisable that these institutions who are looking to move online start considering this as an option to authenticate their students in this digital age.

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