Are Biometric Attendance Registers a Panacea for Workplace Absenteeism in Tanzania? A Lesson from Public Secondary Schools in Nyamagana Municipality

Michael Greyson Mgonja, Alexander Boniface Makulilo


Teachers’ workplace absenteeism is widely reported in countries like Tanzania. Left unaddressed, the problem negatively affects institutions and students’ academic excellence. In response, use of digital technology, including deployment of biometric fingerprint attendance registers is thought to bring a novel opportunity for mitigating the problem. However, the extent to which biometrics is effective in managing employees’ attendance in countries like Tanzania is yet to be known. This study draws experience from Nyamagana Municipality to ascertain the effectiveness of biometric fingerprint attendance registers in addressing teachers’ workplace absenteeism. The findings unveil challenges that blur the effectiveness of biometric fingerprint attendance registers in the studied district. With ICT, teachers can still falsify their workplace attendance. More so, unreliable power supply and COVID-19 pandemic have heightened the challenges related to effective utilisation of the fingerprint machines in managing teacher absenteeism. The study recommends that an effective design and use of digital technology in managing teachers absenteeism should take into account the sociological aspects in educational industry.

Key Words: teachers, absenteeism, biometric attendance register, fingerprint, public secondary schools, Tanzania

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