Why are we being registered in lectures?

It’s like 1984

Leicester University is cracking down on registration as information on student attendance will be made available to Student Loans and UK Visas and immigration.

You may have noticed that you’re being registered a lot more this year than last year and this is because the uni is really cracking down on attendance. Changes to the level of registration are explained on the university’s website.

It is all part of Leicester’s Monitoring Students’ Attendance scheme which means students’ attendance will be tracked and uploaded to an online monitoring system.

Students are worried that missing lectures might result in losing their student loan or getting kicked out of the country.

Information on student attendance will be made available to Student Loans and UK Visas and immigration. Essentially, missing a handful of tutorials could put funds for your degree on the line, despite potentially having a legitimate illness stopping you from getting into uni.

Ella Phillips, a second year management student, said: “I think it’s stupid. If we are paying £9000 per year for the degree then its our choice if we want to waste it by not turning up to lectures. It’s not the lecturers responsibility to make sure we are all there. It’s like being in secondary school again.”

Lucy Unwin, second year history student, said: “It’s not fair because first of all you can’t help it if you’re ill or have family emergencies, and sometimes tutors don’t mind as long as you tell them in advance.”

A member of academic staff at the university, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “All this is going to do is put people off studying in the UK and at the University of Leicester. Why would anyone want to come and study in a country and at a university with such draconian surveillance systems when they can study in English in other countries at a much lower cost.”

Another member of staff added: “Disclosing student attendance to the student loans company is particularly worrying because there is a risk that loans will be denied to students who do not attend class. Some students have personal situations that limit their attendance. By punishing students who do not attend we force poorer students into one educational model that doesn’t fit all.”

In response to the uproar, a spokesperson for the University of Leicester said: “The UK Higher Education sector identifies the monitoring of student attendance and academic engagement as being important for supporting student retention and success by identifying those students who are at risk of disengaging. All universities are subject to auditing by UK Visas and Immigration and the Student Loan Company regarding student attendance.

“Attendance monitoring is also a requirement of accreditation by professional bodies and has been common practice in many university departments for many years. The University has agreed an attendance monitoring policy to enable it to comply with the requirements of these external agencies and also enable it to enhance student retention and progression. This policy was developed following consultation and is in line with those in place in our peer group of universities.”

Lecturers and tutors have expressed concern about this and have set up a change.org petition that explains the exact nature of the university’s new, more rigorous, registration procedures. You can have a read and sign here.