How Do You Say “Truancy” in Portuguese?

Evasão escolar, but in Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, Brazil, a small municipality near Salvador, school officials are trying to eradicate truancy by outfitting public school students with new uniforms that contain microchips. The secretary of education announced that the chips would help parents know where their children are, when they arrive to school, when they leave, and if they are truant.

Using radio frequency identification technology, the chips will be identified by monitors installed in the threshold of the school. As the students pass through the entrance, both the school system and parents will receive notification that the student has either arrived at school or left campus. Parents can provide their cellular telephone numbers to receive text messages from the automated system. If a student has not arrived at school twenty minutes after the start of classes, the parents will be notified.

According to the municipal secretary of education, Coriolano Moraes, the investment in technology reached $650 thousand to provide uniforms for 25 out of the 203 schools in the district. Moraes hoped that all 43 thousand students in Vitória da Conquista will have the high-tech uniforms by the end of the year.

“We noticed over the years that many parents were very surprised when the schools informed them of the frequency of their children’s truancy,” said Moraes. “With this new system, we will strengthen our control over the students so that they don’t hang out in the streets.”

So far, parents overwhelmingly support the new addition to school uniforms. Ivonete Oliveira, whose son attends school in the Vitória da Conquista district, explained, “I think it’s marvelous because we didn’t always know where our children were and we got worried thinking about them. We don’t have to worry so much about them now that the chip will tell us where our children are.”

When asked if the chip will encourage him to go to school, Oliveira’s son, Jonas, said, “I won’t ditch school anymore.”