In what is being billed as a first for a South African tertiary institution, the University of Johannesburg says it will use facial recognition technology during the 2024 academic year’s registrations—a move it says will ensure a "fraud-resistant" registration process.
In a statement, UJ said facial recognition technology would be used to identify the verification of students during their registration drive this year.
UJ is expecting to allocate over 10,500 spaces to first-year students this year. The university said they were enforcing the facial recognition system as traditional methods of identity verification, including presenting ID copies for manual checks, were not foolproof.
UJ Registrar Professor Bettine van Vuuren said beyond combating fraud, they were also providing a secure learning environment for over 40,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
“This pioneering step is not just about preventing fraud; it's a testament to the university's commitment to providing a secure and progressive learning environment for its students and staff.
“It reflects our dedication to staying at the forefront of technological advancements, underscoring the institution's status as a leader in South African higher education," said van Vuuren.
The university added that it had a commitment to embracing cutting-edge solutions for a safer, more efficient, and technologically advanced registration process.
They said using facial recognition had the ability to accurately verify one’s identity by analysing unique facial features, significantly reducing the risk of identity fraud.
HOW IT WORKS
The university said new students who were registering this year would receive an SMS with instructions to confirm their identity through a quick, non-intrusive facial scan.
Dr Tinus van Zyl, Senior Director of Central Academic Administration at UJ, said the advanced level of authentication ensured that the registering individual was indeed who they claimed to be, providing a robust defence against identity-related fraud.
Van Zyl added that for prospective students who did not have cellphones to conduct the required facial recognition scanning on their phones, the necessary provisions for those without smart phones would be made at the registration centres.
“Each student will be able to scan their details accordingly,” he said.