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  • Minister with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, says schools must seek permission from the Ministry in writing before implementing any electronic system that will require biometric data.
  • Speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (September 17), Mr. Samuda said that a teacher cannot be fired for refusing to comply with a request for fingerprint scanning at schools.
  • “While the Ministry understands the need for an accurate record keeping system, teachers cannot be compelled to provide biometric data, such as finger prints, to schools. Section 3A of the Finger Print Act directs that a person can only be compelled to provide finger prints in specific criminal matters. The law also allows for an individual the right to refuse to give finger prints,” Mr. Samuda said.

Minister with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, says schools must seek permission from the Ministry in writing before implementing any electronic system that will require biometric data.

Speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (September 17), Mr. Samuda said that a teacher cannot be fired for refusing to comply with a request for fingerprint scanning at schools.

“While the Ministry understands the need for an accurate record keeping system, teachers cannot be compelled to provide biometric data, such as finger prints, to schools. Section 3A of the Finger Print Act directs that a person can only be compelled to provide finger prints in specific criminal matters. The law also allows for an individual the right to refuse to give finger prints,” Mr. Samuda said.

The Minister was responding to media reports of unease among some teachers at the Mona High School, in Kingston, who are being asked to submit their fingerprints as part of the process of confirming their attendance at school.

Mr. Samuda said the Ministry will be working with the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and other stakeholders to find alternative record keeping solutions.

“There are alternative systems in place to achieve the objectives without the use of biometric data. Extensive sensitisation and consultation should be conducted prior to the implementation of any electronic system for the purpose that this was introduced,” he noted.

The Minister said that where schools are permitted to implement the system by the Education Ministry, alternative arrangements must be provided for those staff members who are not comfortable with the use of their finger prints.