For a secure and efficient learning environment

Leveraged correctly, ID solutions can help provide a secure and efficient environment for learning.

Identity management solutions in the education sector do more than just provide visual security. If leveraged correctly, they can help provide a secure and efficient environment for learning. For example, in a nursery, children’s ID credentials should identify them as individuals and put stops and checks in place against unauthorised individuals fetching them from school thereby enhancing their safety.

On the other hand, for a university student, their ID credentials should give them access to various facilities on the campus, including library networks, the ability to make payments in the cafeteria and to hold details of sports and social club memberships for example.


Challenges

One user, multiple roles

Every business has users with multiple roles, but this is exacerbated in the education sector. Take for example a parent who may also be an alumnus of the institution, or a staff member who is also a student. Each one of these roles enjoys different rights and hence demands different access and privileges that need to be configured with their ID credentials.

Huge inflow and outflow of users in the system

Each new term brings in a fresh influx of students as an equal number of students in the form of the graduating class leave campus. Then within different semesters, students may change their classes and tutors, and of course, the teachers themselves may change roles and institutions. To keep pace with all these developments and make changes manually or on a case by case basis can create logistical problems. The identity system in use needs to facilitate quick and automated provisioning/termination of access on the campus. It also needs to cater to temporary guests like substitute teachers or students taking online courses.

Diverse user profiles

by age and technical skill Every organisation experiences diversity in user profile and nowhere is the age and technical expertise gap as extreme as it is in an educational institution where users can range from nursery school students to older faculty members and parents. The identity system must be simple enough to provide a good user experience for both a 5-year-old and a 50-year-old and yet be complex enough to meet different provisioning requirements.


Applications

Traditionally, ID cards have been used in education purely as a means of identification in its simplest definition – for example to indicate which school an individual is from, which event they are attending, if they belong to a particular group on a school trip. And so on.

This visual identification – which is little more than labelling – does not serve much of a function. However, current student ID cards are capable of much more than basic photo identification thanks to advancements in ID card technology. Many universities now utilise magnetic stripe, smart card, and proximity card technology to integrate student IDs with everything from access control systems to meal plans and laundry machine operation. Some IDs even work as debit cards for purchases both on and off campus.

Photo ID

All personnel on an educational campus should be carrying some form of visual ID, most commonly in the form of an ID badge worn about their person. Authenticating an individual who is trying to gain access to a campus or who is located in a protected area can be achieved using visual verification, provided the card has enough effective secure visual elements in place. Typically this includes a photograph, but to prevent counterfeiting, the card should also include an additional security feature such as a hologram, UV printing or better still a hard to copy feature such as Magicard’s HoloKote(R)  watermark that can be uniquely tied to the school.

Physical access

 Protecting campuses and safeguarding students has become a critical operation for all educational establishments from kindergarten through to universities. Smart cards, each issued with unique keys to provide access to campuses, faculties and individual classrooms, are now a fundamental requirement for staff, visitors and increasingly for students of all ages. Cards are typically presented to an authenticating reader, linked to a physical access control system (PACS) which verifies and grants access to an individual.

Data

The chip on a multi-application student ID smart card can be used to securely store important personal information including details of next of kin, emergency contacts and medical information such as blood group, allergies or details about medication.

Time and attendance

Students and staff movements can be tracked and monitored using a smart card linked to a time and attendance system. This not only verifies whether students are in the right class at the right time, but also can monitor absence, sickness or in the event of a mustering scenario in an emergency, can verify that all the students are accounted for.

Logical access

By adding a logical access application to a student or staff ID card, educational establishments can grant access and monitor use of electronic data such as coursework, e-learning resources and even examination submissions. Other IT assets such as printers, Internet browsing or email communications can also be secured and monitored with this method.

Self service

For universities and colleges, a self-serve checkout kiosk is perfect for enrolment and allows students to print off their university ID cards on demand. Instead of having to wait in a queue, students can simply follow some easy on-screen instructions and they’ll be ready to go while freeing up members of staff to focus on key tasks.

Payments

We’re not simply talking bank cards here: plastic cards have become the global standard for electronically purchasing goods and services. They’re convenient, secure and can save students carrying cash around with them for purchases at the cafeteria or bookshop.