On 26 February 2013 at the post-State of the Nation press briefing, the Department of Basic Education made an announcement that the DBE was considering introducing a biometric system to monitor teacher absenteeism as part of ensuring accountability in the system.
As was indicated in the briefing, at the time the process to roll out the system had not started and processes such as consultation with stakeholders, determination of cost, and time frames were still to be entered into.
Since then the department has done extensive work to investigate the feasibility of introducing the system in schools. The aim was to identify the most cost effective and efficient system so that such a standardized system could be implemented nationally. Through the selected system teacher absenteeism would be monitored, trends identified and place the provincial department in a better position to address chronic absenteeism. While it has been established that the biometric system can be effective in the long run to reduce the rate of absenteeism, the department is still considering similar systems that would achieve similar result.
The Department is considering expanding a system that is currently being utilised by the Northern Cape and Western Cape Provincial Departments of Education with a view towards rolling it out to other Provincial Departments and incorporating a biometric facility in the future. This system has been developed using state funding and can therefore be rolled-out to other Provincial Education Departments in a more cost effective manner. Moreover, lessons learned in the Northern and Western Cape will contribute towards a more effective roll out in other Provincial Education Departments.