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UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move 196

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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  • Summary, summarized (Score:4, Informative)

    by feedayeen ( 1322473 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:28PM (#42303141)

    The UK is concerned that some of their international students are illegally working. Their reasoning is that school and work are mutually exclusive so if you are in school you are not working and vise versa. This is flawed reasoning.

  • by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:29PM (#42303145)

    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: []

  • Coming soon (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:31PM (#42303155)

    A new unofficial Student service to sell you latex gloves with 'someone else's' fingerpints embedded in the fingers.
    Available in any of the Pubs that sell Newcastle Brown around the University.

    being serious for a moment,
    If it is the UKBA demanding this then I guess that if you are a British citizen you can stick two finger(prints) up at them. IMHO, demanding this sort of thing from UK Citizens is the sort of thing that would get them sued pretty quickly. There is no legal requirement to have any form of ID in the UK.

  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:05PM (#42303359) Homepage

    Seriously though; universities have to prove overseas students are actually attending the university. How would other suggest we do this?

    By requiring that the student present a transcript each year at visa-renewal time in order showing that he or she has taken exams and gained a certain amount of credits toward a degree. This is how it is done in Finland, at least. This has the advantage of not hassling students who feel that their time is better spent in the library instead of at lectures.

  • by 1s44c ( 552956 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @06:10PM (#42303721)

    WHY do universities have to prove that overseas students are actually attending the university? Why is this so critical?

    Anyone signed onto a course gets a student visa. After staying for 5 years they can apply for permanent residency. Because of this there are plenty of people with a very basic, or no, education who sign up to courses they never attend as a way to get permanent residency in the UK and the benefits that go with it.

    Now if someone genuinely spends 5 years in education they are an asset to the country and should be allowed to stay. If they know nothing and just want free stuff from the state that's not OK.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @12:24AM (#42305523)

    Once students (over)stay for 5 years they can apply for a permanent visa and in many cases claim benefits.

    As a student in UK on Tier-4 visa, please let me assure you that this is pure bullshit! You won't get any permanent residency status here just based on study visas, even if you stay for 8-9 years. You need to get a work visa and only then your presence here will be counted toward those 5 years (to get 'leave to remain'). Getting a work visa is not easy and it has get harder since the recent changes in regulations.

The person who can smile when something goes wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.