Schools in China test new uniforms containing oppressive technology


Two children pose in the new smart uniforms that resemble tracksuits.

Baylee Stewart, Managing Editor (Print)

New uniforms are being required in school; however, these required outfits are not normal uniforms. When one imagines wearing uniforms, they imagine the usual dress shirt and dress pants or skirt. They don’t imagine the new attire as being tracksuits that contain multiple technologies.

China is testing these new uniforms in 10 schools in the Southwestern area. Some of these schools have been wearing these uniforms since 2016. The uniforms contain multiple technologies that are supposed to improve their students’ learning.

The first form of technology included in these uniforms are two chips. These two chips contribute to multiple features. One feature that these chips contain is a tracking device that monitors each students’ location, no matter where they are. Each uniform is paired with a facial recognition of the student to ensure that no student switches their uniforms to skip classes.

The chip also has two other features: one being a snack and lunch card that charges to an account where their parents can view the transactions. The other feature is when a student falls asleep in class, an alarm will sound to wake the student and to alert the teacher.

The 10 schools in China also have a facial recognition at the entrances of their buildings. Students are required to scan their faces in order to enter and leave the building, therefore, when their face doesn’t match the uniform, the administrators are alerted. These 10 schools are promising to not look at the students’ location after school, but how can they guarantee that?

“I feel that [the school] being able to track your location is a bit much and invades privacy, but I can also see how that would help if someone were to skip class,” freshman Abagail Lisanti said.

Having these uniforms could endanger the students’ lives. The chips constantly displaying each and every student’s location is very unsafe. There is the possibility of these chips being hacked or even taken out of the uniform; because they are uniforms after all. This feature is just an invasion of privacy. Yes, these schools are trying to prevent students from skipping classes, but couldn’t they just hire a few hall monitors?

“I believe we should not have [these uniforms] at all, they cannot be trustworthy of this kind of device. Anybody can hack into these devices,” junior Fernando Franco said.

These schools should also have the manufacturers of the uniforms change the chips so that they have the ability to turn the location trackers on and off. This way, schools can set a specific time frame for the location tracking to be on.

The tracking device would cause quite a few students to feel uncomfortable wearing the uniforms in school.

“I would not feel comfortable wearing these uniforms,” Lisanti said.

If these uniforms became used worldwide, many students would be very upset knowing that the school knows their exact location throughout the day. Another invasion of privacy this uniform offers is the alarm when a student falls asleep. This could be very helpful to some students in the morning when they didn’t get a good night’s sleep. However, the alarm that goes off shouldn’t be a loud alarm. The loud alarm causes other students to get distracted, including the teacher.

Overall, if these uniforms were used in our school and worldwide, there would be a lot of controversy on whether or not these uniforms would be safe to use. Many students would not feel comfortable in the uniforms, knowing that the school knows exactly where they are.