Forced Fingerprinting for Foreign Students
International students forcibly fingerprinted to prove lecture attendance
International students are being forced to participate in fingerprint checks by two UK universities to prove and ensure lecture attendance.
The University of Sunderland and Ulster University (at both its London and Birmingham campuses) are enforcing the practise with gusto.
A Sunderland spokesperson said: “It is essential that we monitor attendance in order to enhance student retention and achievement.”
An Ulster spokesperson said: “Biometric scanning was introduced in response to changing UK Border Agency attendance monitoring requirements.”
The Sunderland spokesperson insisted that students are “really comfortable” with being fingerprinted.
Fingerprint registration has not yet spread. Last year Newcastle University proposed introducing the system, but this was rejected by the student union.
The National Union of Students said the practise amounts to “discrimination”.
Daniel Stevens, the union’s international students’ officer, said that “physical checks of any quantity” and discrimination “against international students” are “appalling”.
Non-EU international students can be charged more than £20,000 a year for university. Edinburgh charges foreign medical students in third year and above £36,600.
In a letter to the Independent, 280 academics criticised the practise. They said that fingerprinting students is “reprehensible” and should “be condemned in the strongest terms”.
“We are educators, not border guards”.