by Staff Writers
Stockholm (AFP) Sept 21, 2011
A daycare centre in the southern Swedish city of Malmoe said Wednesday it planned to test GPS devices for tracking children when they are out on excursions.
"We will test this system on 10 children for a week in October. We will have 10 GPS transmitters attached to their reflective vests when we're outside the nursery school," explained Karin Werholt, who runs the Kronprinsen (Crown Prince) centre that cares for 36 children between the ages of one and six.
"We will test if the transmitters are robust, if they work well and if they affect the children's playing in any way," she told AFP, adding that the centre did not have any problem keeping track of kids and it remained unclear whether it would purchase the system if the test went well.
According to the Malmoe company Purple Scout that provides the system, the GPS transmitters all report the positions of the children to one mobile phone, which sounds an alert if a transmitter moves beyond a certain distance from the phone.
"This is in no way meant to make it easy for administrators to reduce the number of nursery school teachers," project leader Henrik Hoff told AFP, rejecting some initial criticism of the project.
"It is meant to complement their work, but it cannot stop a child from running off. It only makes it possible to discover they're gone at an earlier stage and find them quicker," he explained.
Purple Scout is planning an official launch of the system on October 18 and aims to have its first orders by the end of the year, according to Hoff.
"The daycares we have talked to are very positive to the idea," he said.
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