By James Black
University students may have to scan their fingerprints in future to prove they are going to their lectures.
Newcastle University plans to introduce biometric scanners to bring the institution in line with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and clamp down on illegal immigrants.
Students and staff at the North-East university will be monitored through the Student Attendance system from the start of next academic year.
Exactly how it will work is still in question but one option being discussed is to introduce finger scanners at lectures and classes.
These readers would recognise students' fingerprints and collect data on which sessions they have attended.
Newcastle University claims the move is a necessary step to meet their obligation to UKBA and ensure international students don't use student visas as a way to sneak into the country and work illegally.
But the university also believes the new system will keep on top of attendance and help identify home students who are in need of support. But some students and staff claim the move is 'unnecessary and intrusive'.
A student group at Newcastle University claims biometric scanning is over the top and infringes their privacy.
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'.
In a referendum at the Students' Union, 1,200 students voted against the scheme, with just 320 voting in favour.
...How long before this 'OBLIGATION' become mandatory throughout the UK, for everyone?