Like the no-smoking policy, the digital identification system is a development long overdue. UST, which claims to be a pillar of advanced research and studies in the humanities and especially in the sciences, has finally started showing proof that its boasts are not for naught.

With the advent of the new digital ID’s, Thomasians should encounter less hassle when entering rooms, buildings, or the campus itself, and later when purchasing items or borrowing books from the library.

For that to happen, digital card readers will have to be installed around campus, from the University gates to building doors and in rooms where students will conduct their business. These scanners will be connected to a main server where all the cardholders’ whereabouts will be registered, monitored, and regulated.

Unfortunately, technology like that does not come cheap, especially in a country where the cost of living does not fail to rise annually. Or tuition, for that matter.

In this case, while the freshmen’s payment for their ID’s is already included in their fees, students in the higher levels have to shell out P300 to avail of the new ID system. That, plus the higher tuition that all students have to contend with yet again.

Unless the cards themselves are made of precious metal, which most probably they are not, the administration will have to explain the high cost.

And even if they were, it wouldn’t be right to pass on a part if not the entire cost of the new system to the students.

An institution like UST should see to it that students get more bang for the money they pay in terms of service, because in charging them for every significant development, administrators are giving not additional service, but burden.

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What’s more, the efficiency of the system remains to be seen. Measures will have to be done to make sure the new ID system is bug- and hack-free. This is crucial especially for the students, who are disclosing important personal information that will be encoded in the system, like school or financial records and even addresses and contact information. Also, malfunctioning card readers could result in the very thing the system aims to avoid— long queues and delayed transactions. Indeed, though the new technology is a welcome development, it is not without its risks.

Until the administration delivers the goods, these concerns will affect not only the students, but also people outside the University who are thinking of joining the Thomasian community.

It is now up to the administration to prove things otherwise.

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