Emirati teenager invents system to easily monior school attendance

ABU DHABI // One Emirati pupil’s invention is about to earn him praise at school – but it could make him unpopular with those struggling to get to class on time. Khalifa Al Romaithi, 16, has developed and installed an automatic attendance monitoring device that registers pupils and staff as they walk through the school […]

ABU DHABI // One Emirati pupil’s invention is about to earn him praise at school – but it could make him unpopular with those struggling to get to class on time.

Khalifa Al Romaithi, 16, has developed and installed an automatic attendance monitoring device that registers pupils and staff as they walk through the school gate.

The system texts parents the minute their children walk on or off school grounds and prints tardy and leave-early slips for pupils arriving or departing at irregular times.

Instead of travelling during his summer break, the Emirates National School 12th grader dedicated his entire holiday to devising the system.

“I made sure to finish the project before the beginning of the school year,” he said.

“None of the other students know about it yet.”

Much like Salik, the electronic toll road system in Dubai, eStudent utilises sensors above the boys’ campus entrance to register student and staff ID cards.

Khalifa, who was involved in rigging the hardware and creating the software that produced the data, is not new to inventing.

He has created and patented a device that temporarily shuts down televisions and issues a warning if anyone sits too close to the screen – an idea he came up with after repeatedly hearing his father yelling at his brother and sister for doing just that.

“One of our biggest challenges is on attendance and tardiness so I said, ‘Khalifa, you’re an inventor – I need you to build something for me’,” said Dieu Anh Nguyen, the school’s Abu Dhabi city director.

Khalifa accepted the challenge and held brainstorming sessions with Ms Nguyen to come up with a concept best suited for project.

“He would always return to me so we could hash it out,” she said.

“He’s so mature in his inventions, sometimes you forget he’s still a kid.”

With the school funding his project – which cost Dh20,000 to Dh25,000 – Ms Nguyen said it was a great opportunity to teach Khalifa the business side of inventing.

“He had to do his homework in finding the best deals for buying the parts and seeing what type of support and insurance companies provide.

“It may be a school project now but when he graduates it will become a business so we wanted to make sure he was ready for that,” she said.

Nada Kaysi, the school’s principal, said Khalifa was a role model to other pupils and stood out as soon as he joined the school.

“I’ve seen so many young students look up to him and get ideas from him,” she said.

Mohammed Belhamer, head of the primary school, said providing an encouraging environment was essential for students’ development.

“It is essential for a school to nourish its students’ ambitions and here we know it is important to be open to any of the students’ ideas because even the smallest of ideas can transform into far-reaching ones,” he said.

Khalifa’s eStudent system will go online tomorrow for 5th graders and for the rest of the high school by the end of the month.

Ms Nguyen said plans to use the system at the Abu Dhabi girl’s school were in the works with the long-term goal of reaching all Emirates National schools.

tsubaihi@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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