Education facilities in China have rolled out "intelligent uniforms" embedded with microchips to better monitor students' attendance and whereabouts, said the Global Times. Eleven schools in Southwest China's Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have introduced smart uniforms, which are developed and manufactured by Guizhou Guanyu Technology.
As students arrive on school grounds, facial recognition cameras identify the time and date of arrival along with a short video that school administrators and parents can access via a mobile app.
If the student attempts to skip class, the mobile app will inform teachers parents of the truancy. A GPS system embedded in the uniform can even track the student beyond the school limits.
The microchips within each uniform can withstand up to 500 washes and 150 degrees Celsius, the company told Global Times.
Guizhou Guanyu Technology released a public statement via the Chinese social media site Weibo stating the uniforms "focus on safety issues", and provide a "smart management method" that benefits students, teachers and parents. The company's marketing manager boasted the uniforms' capabilities on a personal Weibo account:
"You go to any school and ask the security guard how many students there are in the school today. He definitely can't give you an answer, but we can," the post read.
On its website, the company said the suits were designed to "fully implement the state policy of actively constructing smart campuses and smart education management for the development of education".
Beijing has recently made statements calling on all education facilities to develop "smart campuses" in a move to digitize education. Lin Zongwu, principal of Number 11 School of Renhuai in Guizhou where more than 800 students have been wearing smart uniforms since 2016, told the Global Times that administrators could track students at all times, though the technology was used sparingly.
"We choose not to check the accurate location of students after school, but when the student is missing and skipping classes, the uniforms help locate them," Zongwu said, adding the attendance rate had increased since the intelligent uniforms were introduced.
Guanyu Technology responded to sharp criticism on Weibo, saying the "the smart uniform does not track students' every single move all the time," adding that we "respect and protect human rights."
In parallel with China's development of a digital dictatorship to exert its authority over school children, the government is also rolling out its Social Credit System, a "ranking system" that monitors the behavior of its massive population, and ranks everyone based on their worthiness to the government, confirming that even George Orwell was an abject amateur in predicting just how far government would go to have supreme control over, well, pretty much every aspect of people's lives.