It’s back to school for students world over with the holidays now officially over. China however has always been a little different. Right now for them it is still the year of the dog (the year 4716 to be exact) and New year is still weeks away. School is in full gear with the winter holidays starting on 26 January. The other difference is their students wear smart uniforms.
Smart uniforms you say
It’s not even a government thing. More than 10 schools in Southwest China’s Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regions seem to have voluntarily adopted the uniforms. In this case smart is a euphemism for tracking.
These uniforms allow these schools to know the exact whereabouts of each student. There is a monitoring system at entrances that allows the school to know exactly when each student came in and went out as well as where they are in the school. The uniforms can achieve these courtesy of two GPS chips in each shoulder.
Oh, just in case you are tempted to lend the uniform to your friend so they can put it in a bag and bring it to school while you are otherwise engaged. Chew on this. The entrances will know if it’s not you thanks to state of the art facial recognition.
This will certainly discourage any form of tardiness or bunking but there are naturally privacy concerns. The Chinese Communist Party has never allowed such trivial things as privacy to get in the way of progress or its ability to monitor citizens. Growing up in such as system means that the students and their parents are unfazed by the scary prospects of being tracked.
The uniforms are also very durable. According to reports they can withstand up to 500 wash cycles and remain unscathed even when exposed to temperatures as high as 150 °C. The chips will also know when you fall asleep during those boring biology lessons when your teacher’s soothing voice drones on and on about animal cells.
Naughty governments might get ideas
Even our broke government is considering facial recognition and cameras everywhere. Dictators love prioritising such things as they ensure their grip on power. Do not be surprised if some naughty governments start talking about a national dress and offer their citizens the prospect of free clothes.
It would 1984 all over again.