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UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move 196

Posted by timothy
from the why-not-just-use-the-cctvs-already-in-place dept.
Presto Vivace writes that the UK's Newcastle University is instituting a finger-print based attendance system. From the linked article: "University students may have to scan their fingerprints in future — to prove they are not bunking off lectures. ... Newcastle Free Education Network has organised protests against the plans, claiming the scanners would 'turn universities into border checkpoints' and 'reduce university to the attendance of lectures alone.'" The system is supposed to bring the university "in line with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and clamp down on illegal immigrants."
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UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move

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  • by Puls4r (724907) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:27PM (#42303127)
    I spent my first two years of calculus lectures sleeping in. I scored near perfect in both classes. WHY do people have to be at lectures they don't need, again? It's the university's stupid rules that don't allow me to just test out of the classes: they've got to have their money. But why would they want me sitting in a lecture distracting other people while I surf youtube?
  • DISNEY WORLD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:49PM (#42303267)
    Disney World has been quietly requiring fingerprint scans for certain parts of the park: [orlandosentinel.com]http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_columnist_mikethomas/2007/05/finger_scanners.html [orlandosentinel.com]

    While it seems new for school attendance, non-financial biometric scans are not new...
  • by Xugumad (39311) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:06PM (#42303365)

    From my point of view (as a non-academic who works on improving university administration), it matters for a few key reasons:

    1. Students who don't turn up to lectures are more likely to drop out of university. This particularly goes for students whose attendance was good and tails off, so we want to spot them early on and ask if they need any help (academic or personal).

    2. If a student turns up mid-way through semester with problems, we're inclined to be a lot more sympathetic (and devote more staff time to helping) if you've attended class. If you didn't attend class and then don't know the material, it could be argued that's rather your own fault.

  • by 1s44c (552956) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:58PM (#42303663)

    If you're at the university on a visa, there's an expectation you're attending the university. Don't laugh, it happens.

    If the UKBA feels the university isn't doing enough, this happens: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19425718 [bbc.co.uk]

    And there are countless other colleges running fake courses or dumbass courses just to get people student visas. Or at least there were, the government is trying real hard to clean it up.

    There used to be posters all over London advertisting that if you enroll in some basic class at some Indian run dodgy college you get the right to stay in the country. It was all one big visa scam.

  • by leathered (780018) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @07:38PM (#42304281)

    I worked in a UK university CS department for four years in the mid 00s. Foreign students turning up for a couple of lectures then disappearing was a huge problem. Not for the university of course, who didn't give a shit as long as the fees were paid. Even if the fees weren't paid they were simply kicked off the course but this was never communicated to the UK Borders Agency.

    Since then I've been told that the universities have had a royal boot up the arse from the government and are to inform immediately if a foreign student has poor or no attendance. What we're seeing here is probably an overreaction to this.

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