The law of unintended consequences has arrived in full force on British campuses, as government policies designed to control immigration turn academic staff into state informers and impose draconian surveillance on UK students and academics. That is the conclusion of a report out this week from the Manifesto Club entitled …
the attendance monitoring at my uni consists of emails sent to every single student foreign or not telling them if they are a foreign student to attend an attendance monitoring event 2 weeks in advance. these are sent every other day! as well as numerous posters.
what does it prove? that they can turn up for one day per term when given two weeks notice, kinda defies the point. AC because there is no free speech or free idea's in today's money churning university's
Unintended consequences? I think not.
I'm starting to think that these unintended consequences are not unintended at all, but rather an even more devious way for the government to go for ``soft targets'' -- now that those damn furriners have to have ID cards, how convenient have that requirement ``spill over'' to the rest of the academics and students, and once they have cards, the rest of the populace can be ``enrolled'' at leisure.
That, or extreme incompetence at the rule makers'. Or both. But since fixes are not and I predict will not be forthcoming, I expect that these consequences, unintended or not, are secretly welcomed by the government. Carry on government.
Got it in one, mate...
All about bigoted agendas and little to do with security of anti-terrorism...
I have been applying this mindset to everything for a couple of years now. I used to live by the saying "Never attribute to malace what can be explained by incompetance"
Ronseal say "It does exactly what it says on the tin"
This is true of Ronseal products but not products of the government.
I now say "Look at the likely or actual outcome of a policy because thats probably what they intended"
It's amazing where this leads. You begin to see the sort of thing the government intends to happen and can acurately predict what bad outcome is likely from a policy.
Obviously we are ruled by Lizard people.
That would have got me
I came to the UK as a graduate student, stayed to work, and now happily earn pots of money and pay huge taxes. Big win for the UK. If I had faced this sort of search, scrutiny, reporting, tagging and other unpleasantness, I would have gone elsewhere. Given that I am white and female, I wonder if the full force of these distasteful measures would have been rained down on me, or it the assiduousness of the Border Contol folks would been focused on browner people from poorer countries?
The system is ridiculous
As someone who is trying to come to the UK to complete a masters degree (please note im an Australian, with 5 years professional experience in engineering, and who has previously worked in the UK, so im not exactly a free loader) the system in place now is ridiculous. The amount of documentation and cost required is hugely prohibitive, and worst of all they have instigated ridiculous timelines to achieve visa clearance - firstly, the university your attending cannot send out the acceptance letter until 6 months before you begin the course (you cannot even complete the first step of obtaining the correct visa without this letter) and even more ridiculously you cant apply for the visa until 3 months beforehand and that includes obtaining the necessary special checks (anal probe) that is required for anyone doing an engineering or science degree (especially in areas like nuclear, aerospace, or any other course that could potentially be "bad" *rolleyes*). Anyone coming from a country like Pakistan or Iran has no chance of having their visa issued in time and im willing to bet that i will be lucky if i get the visa a week beforehand!
Yet despite all of these ridiculous checks, its not going to have any effect on your illegal immigration or the "terrorists". I have a friend who works for a higher education provider in London which provides language training. Less then half of the enrolled students turn up, but the manager of the facility accepts their money and simply changes the rolls to say they did attend. If you actually wanted to stop the illegal immigration, try shutting down these "colleges" and leave the actual universities alone...
Posted anonymously because under the current British Totalitarian Regime criticism of the government is more then enough reason for being rejected for a visa... Welcome to your fascist state Britain...
I live with a Pakistani student, and have quite a few friends from the Mid-East, (masters students mind you) and it turns out that this system is actually providing jobs for those who manage to get to the UK, as urdu, farsi, arabic etc. speaking students are needed to talk to prospective students to explain why their visa has been delayed, or how many tens of thousands of pounds they owe the university.
Disgraceful as a policy, but I think my mates dont mind it too much, getting paid £7 an hour just for chatting to their parents at home for an hour a day... I mean... prospective students.
Now shoo, I'm hungover and going back to bed, it isn't even midday!
unintended consequences? i don't think so.
it's clear to me what out 'state' overlords are doing.
Some unis are switching to distance learning. My wife has just been asked to supervise an Iraqi student based in Saudi for an MA.
As with so many knee-jerk reactions, and coupled with the ever-increasing mesh of legislation that surrounds pretty much any activity, it's surprising that anything can actually get done.
The idea used to be that by educating foreign students in this country they would be enlightened by our civilised ways and want to emulate them in their country, eventually the world would become more civilised and balanced - now I don't suppose that is likely to happen.
What a mess.
Shame there isn't a rewind button for the planet anywhere.
Quite right too!
Foreign students!! They all want to blow us up!! When I was at uni I had a classmate from the Middle East, and she killed me with a suicide bomb in a lecture!! One of my classmates had a flatmate from the Middle East -- he killed me with a suicide bomb in the pub!! I was also killed on three separate occasions by foreign students I didn't know entering nightclubs with improvised incendiary devices, and twice in the Scotmid Coop by foreigners bearing bandoliers of hand grenades.
Edinburgh used to be a peaceful city, but since the University started letting in foreign students, you can't walk the streets for fear of being blown up unexpectedly by an angry student suicide squad!!
Doing a Phd?
You are going to be in serious trouble. Getting your professor to turn up reliably 10 times during the year is an event with a probability tending to zero.
And this is another example of why I left the UK.
"could do real long-term damage to the UK economy and its international reputation as a centre for learning excellence"
hasn't CRU at East Anglia already done that !
Polish Plumbers need not apply
Lest we forget, Tony Blair promoted a rapid expansion of the EU to the east. The claims of some that it would result in mass emigration were ignored. The Commission pointed out that when Spain & Portugal joined there were similar claims and those claims were unfounded. (False logic).
They were wrong, mass migration of workers from east to west happened. Britain and many others were swamped.
That resulted in a backlash against immigration, but Labour can't ban EU workers, and can't be critical of the EU expansion, because their leader promoted it. So *other* *browner* immigrants need to be blamed. Even though they are a tiny percentage of the migration and not the main problem.
Tony couldn't say "well look we made a mistake, the expansion of the EU was too fast too soon, sorry my bad".
And thus we have the situation today, where non EU immigration is blamed for all of Britain's ills, and hysterical Daily mail readers think "Asylum Seeker" is the race equivalent of,"Larger Lout". Lots of nasty stuff happening, fingerprinting of kids, DNA samples of immigrants, expulsion of students on false claims.
All because they can't admit they were wrong.
I think not - as someone who has recently completed a course in a UK based higher education institution I can honestly say that the main reason UK academics are opposed to this is because foreign students are a cash cow.
There were a lot of foreign students on my particular course and while 95% of them were there for valid reasons, there was a small minority who were there just to work the system and get into the UK using a backdoor - one or two never showed up again after registration but as long as the Uni was still getting the money - what did they care?
This isn't about stopping terrorists, it's about stopping illegal immigration and quite honestly any student that complains about having their attendance monitored is an idle layabout who shouldn't be there anyway as they're clearly not there to work.
Glasgow School of Art?? Who cares what that lot of pointless, egotistical w*****s think? If they were a real Uni doing real stuff like Computer Science then what they have to say would be relevant, but they're not so it isn't.
Anonymous cos I don't want the liberal "intelligentsia" putting my windows in
Re: unnecessary bureaucracy??
"This isn't about stopping terrorists, it's about stopping illegal immigration and quite honestly any student that complains about having their attendance monitored is an idle layabout who shouldn't be there anyway as they're clearly not there to work."
Right, so everyone has to call their name, just like in primary school, whenever there's any kind of lecture or tutorial or whatever - even the lecturer! And I suppose everyone has to sign in every single day, regardless of whether they actually have anything scheduled, or whether they could be in, say, the library doing some reading. No, it's all about keeping tabs on everyone, just to make sure they're not slacking off or plotting to overthrow the government.
Thank you so much for your "Little Britard" advert for keeping the dirty ungrateful proles under the thumb of the state, interfering in their lives because they clearly have natural tendencies to be "idle" and that wouldn't make the ruling elite and their executive chums any money. You may now return to writing your vapid column for the Telegraph.
The attendance issue could quite easily be delt with, at my university and I'm sure most universities all the doors were controlled by RFID tags embedded in your university card. All you have to do is write a piece of software that logs door access to class times and presto you have your own accurate attendance register.
Since my employer across multiple sites requires me to do the same thing (admittedly for security reasons) I fail to see how this would be demeaning.
I don't care where someone is from but if there not attending any lectures they should be kicked off of the course.
"astonishingly short sighted and ill-conceived piece of unnecessary bureaucracy..."
... What *another* one...?
Oh yeah ...
Just how easy would it be for me to enroll in a madrasah then!
Would I experience the same freedoms of speech and learning that foreign students appreciate in the UK ? - I think not.
The stoopid old UK has left the back door open too long me thinks.
The education system in this country was broked about 40 years ago when hippies started getting jobs as teachers. The touchy-feelie twoddle they espoused ruined many many young lives. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with streaming school kids according to their non-academic or academic abilities and teaching either applied subjects, such as maths and English to a would-be electrician, or degree standard studies to more academically able students. All this medja studies garbash makes my blood boil. Every country needs plumbers, electricians and builders etc. they are noble trades comrades and should be appreciated as such. But, no, now you can get a degwee darling in medja and general studies - that helps, right ? - NOT.
Get our education system back on track or we're doomed. Assist developing nations to do the same and we might all be better off.
Re:Oh yeah ...
"The education system in this country was broked about 40 years ago ..."
If the government wants to keep immigrants out, they should have the balls to do it up front and not with this passive aggressive point-based "let's make their life hard" bullshit.
They can't! Too many of ....
those they want keep out are from oil rich countries and it's best not to offend those with the oil overtly.
Well colour me mango
I couldn't understand a word in most of my computer science lectures, they may have been explaining the intricacies of crocheting Organza, for all I could interpret. Only the name of the course gave anything away as to what it was about.
Thank you O'Reilly is all I can say, and no thank you to UK Universities: hire people who can speak the lingo or don't run the course.
They can't! The education system...
has been under hippie control for too long. There are now not enough qualified people of UK origin to teach the courses. Nor enough who pass them if they were properly marked.
Let's play "devil advocate"
"an increase in late arrivals and no-shows of international students" or it is that before they weren't even checking, now they have to and surprise surprise, their "students" aren't showing up or being late?
"staff must check international student attendance whilst if a student fails to attend 10 ... the professor is obliged to report them" (besides that it should be 'to report HIM', but... the professor evidently doesn't give a fuck about checking if his students are actually showing up for lessons or not, as long as he gets paid... or not?
"the university requiring all staff to submit legal documents to establish whether they have the right to work in the UK" ... you are telling me that they weren't checking if the people that they wanted to employ had a right to work there before? Excuuuse me, isn't like "illegal" to employ somebody (brits or no brits) that doesn't have the rights to work there? Regardless if you are a University or a sausage maker?
Does anybody writing this bollocks actually work in a university?
Fact. Overseas students pay a lot of money to come and study in a system that they and their future employers believe - rightly - to be one of the highest quality and (BIG plus) least corrupt education systems in the world. Hence the fact that education is one of the last remaining truly successful export industries in Britain. The difference between the money that comes into the UK from abroad and the money that goes out to other countries' education systems is VAST. I cannot think of another sector in Britain that, in these relative terms, contributes more to the economy. If you can, let me know what it is, I'm genuinely interested.
Fact. In a time of economic downturn, the US and Australia, to name but two of the UK's major competitors in this sector, have changed laws to facilitate the entry of foreign students. Yes folks, they're making it easier to get these people in. That's the US. Easier. Not nigh on impossible.
Fact. There is no legal requirement for students to attend lectures. Nor should there be. If they don't come they don't get the degree that they have paid huge amounts of money for (far more than a British student will ever pay). Do people seriously think the vast majority of students don't care about that? When their families have made sacrifices to send them to this high-quality educational environment? Take your stereotypes back to the pages of whatever stupid rag you got them from, please.
Fact. The government - whichever party happened to be in power at the time - have, over many years, forced universities to look to the overseas market to raise enough finance to keep the high quality of their courses.
Fact. This ridiculous immigration legislation is just one part of the triple whammy, alongside general cuts in funding and the highly insidious ELQ (Equivalent Level Qualification) limitation - where a university cannot any longer receive any money for any UK or EU student doing a course that is equivalent to one they already have. You want to be one of those bankers or people from some other sector who are supposed to be recruited into teaching? Sorry mate, we have to charge you £11,000 for that PGCE because you got a Masters degree in biochemistry 20 years ago. You need to retrain in a different job to keep your skills up to date? Sorry, that'll be £11,000 for that BA in physiotherapy because the government won't give the university any money for your educaiton because 30 years ago you got a 3rd in Fine Art at Bangor. Note: most universities are trying to cover these costs at the moment - though not all (Manchester has stopped doing so for undergraduate degrees). How are they doing this? Through subsidising them by overseas students income. They won't keep doing this for ever.
Fact. Overseas students are keeping the cost of YOUR retraining and YOUR kids' education down. If they stop coming, fees will rise to make up the difference.
Fact. Without doing these things the quality of UK higher education will collapse and the future of this country, culturally, intellectually, and economically, will be more f*cked than it already is. AND THAT IS WHAT THIS GOVERNMENT ARE MAKING HAPPEN.
(who actually works in a university with responsibility for recruitment onto my educational technology course, and is quite prepared to go on the record here, unlike the ridiculous 'Anonymous Cowards')
1984 - Ignorance is strength!
Law of unintended consequences?
It's all part of the plan :)
Nothing to see here, move along.
It's good to see the UK complimenting the US effort of establishing teaching centers all over the world. Soon our legacy of encouraging education in the remotest parts of the world will bear the fruit of these fine policies and we shall reap the rewards.
No-one seems to think of one thing ...
Foreign students pay 2,3 often more times the amount of money than the Unis get from UK students.
When we've scared off all those nasty furriner students (who incidentally have been blowing the socks off indigenous grades for decades), who's going to plug that gap? I went to Loughborough Tech college in the 80's, a well- looked-upon college locally and internationally (one of the few at the time able to release higher diplomas), and a huge swathe of the students were from the 'darker' oil-producing countries. What will happen to places like that now?
I do note the number of AC's posting totally unrelated bollox above, looks like the Reg is pulling the insects in from Google News... ;) sure they'll find their way back to the Mail shortly...
@unintended consequences? i don't think so.
They have to keep all us Proles distracted with fear stories from the terrorist Perpetual War, otherwise we all may have time to see through the Inner Party ruling elite's relentless arrogant greed and need to oppress everyone else for their own gain.
After all, the Ministry of Truth want us to know that they are not voiding all our citizens' rights. Big Brother is only there to help us. You are safe under our watchful eyes. Now everyone go back to sleep, while the Inner Party continues to rob us all blind and sell the country into the ground for their own gain.
By the way, if its really about terrorists, then why do they let people in *before* issuing them with an ID card? ... Also if its really about terrorists, then how can we stop all the terrorists by finding anyone who won't go to a university?! (Strange how the walls of a university have this filtering effect. Maybe we should use the same bricks around the whole of the UK, if its that effective as a means of filtering and detecting terrorists!?). So are we really to believe its really about terrorists?. Or is this all yet another example of our gradual retraining, to make us all learn to accept a world of perpetual surveillance over us. They want to watch us and they want us to learn to accept being watched.
Knowledge is power and as a result, there has always been some in every generation in every society who increase their power over others, through spying on everyone they can. But until now, they haven't had the resources to spy on everyone as much as they would like, but now technology is creating a Utopian world for spying control freaks. Shame its a Dystopia for the rest of us, but thats the nature of power. The control freaks with the power choose how the rest of us must live and they want us to be retrained into accepting being spied on, so we can become their ever more controlled and repressed minions, always ultimate so they can personally gain from having so such power over us all that is increasing all the time. :(
Welcome to tomorrow
Which is exactly why, if we are to have ID cards, I want them RFID-free, database-free, biometrics-free, and with zero-knowledge proof technology so they can be used in a way that lets you the citizen close control over who you want to share what data with. Instead we get national fingerprint and dna databases that are impossible to get out of. The fingerprints already start as you ask for a passport, which thus clearly marks you a criminal terrorist subversive element, because you might want to dangerously travel eastward, or something
Which is exactly why I want both cash and truely anonymous electronic payment instruments, and very much not like how the Dutch national bank and assorted retailers are trying to force everyone to chip+pin (still magstrip+pin) as it currently has a seven year paper trail of your purchases.
Which is exactly why I am opposed to congestion charges and other over-the-road scanners as currently implemented, nevermind having that nationwide and another seven year paper trail.
Which is exactly why I don't want nation-wide oyster cards with again seven years of location-bound paper trail.
Which is exactly why I'm sick and tired of the security circus, the graft, the government lies.
In case you're wondering, the seven year paper trail is a royal dutch revenue service rule. Oh so convenient. Not sure what nasty rules HMRC snuck in to keep tabs on you.
No, surveillance can't be draconian. "Draconian" alludes to the propensity of Draco to execute offenders for the slightest misdemeanour.
Law of unintended consequences
A cynical person might thing that civil servants and MPs have been having a little talk with their old universities (both of them) - who are concerned that people are coming to the UK to study at any UK university and diluting their little monopoly.
So introduce stronger tests that only a couple of universities meet (ok add in Imperial College - we need to train the next generation of Iraqi nuclear scientists) - and their foreign fee income goes back up.
Same applies to employment ... employers are required to perform checks on non-EU people to ensure they have a right to work here but to if they only check people the think are "foreign" then they are open to racial discrimination claims so they demand to see everyones passports. Happened to me though as HR are now distracted by a round of redundancies they've not implemented the check yet.
But the difference is ...
... you don't pay thousands of pounds a year in order to work. Students do pay thousands of pounds a year to study (even home students), so it is entirely up to them if they turn up to work at all. Personally, having taught in universities, I've never reported a student for not attending my classes, and I'm not going to start now.
AC because I want to keep working in universities!!
Having spent several months in the UK and fallen in love with it, I'm really sad to hear this sort of thing happening. As a yank, I'd like to imagine my own government holds a monopoly on xenophobia, small mindedness, and short sightedness, but I guess we're just taking after our parents.
The part I find most bizarre is the statement that they want to make sure students are studying, and not doing other things like, *gasp* working. Shouldn't people who are talented enough to get admitted to a British university also be an asset to the workforce? I'm not sure how affordable your schools are relative to ours in the states, but a lot of students here need to work part time to afford their bills and lodging, so it's not unreasonable for a foreign student to want to do the same. I would think that it would be more in the UK's interest to say something along the lines of, "here is a combined work/study visa, contingent upon maintaining good academic standing and graduating within 6 years. Visa will be good for one year after graduation or 6 years, whichever is longer." Giving a bit of extra time after studies would be helpful for bringing these people who have studied at your universities into your work pool.
Engineering may be a strange field, but I've worked with a huge number of brilliant Indian, Chinese, and Taiwanese engineers, two Iranians who were among the best (and nicest) professors I've had, not to mention handfuls of people from Romania, Switzerland, Spain, Nigeria, and Latin America. My education, and the US tech sector would both be a lot poorer without these migrants. I suspect your green and pleasant land is the same.
So much bother
Hats off to the government for trying to curtail visa abuse. It's a common problem where an someone looking to emigrate or at least work in the UK does not go through the trouble of a proper work visa but instead gets a student visa and then uses that to gain employment after they are in border.
Though I think in this case there seems to be 2nd agenda of getting us used to a surveillance society.
I'm a "bloody foreigners"...
I go to college every class day, I've got As , a B and disputable C.
I also work 18 hours a week (limited to 20 according to current rules) as a software developer.
I pay: council tax, tv licensing, PAYE, college fees, visa fees.... name it.. I pay in full all those thinks...
I'm here by choice, planned to stay for 3 years then bugger off home. But honestly... will cut that short to 2 years and few months.
I'm fed up of folks like this French-German Lady Manisfesto, taking one side only of the story. I'm also fed-up of The Guardian and DailyMail (different point of views, but also one sided).
BUT I DO NOT BLAME YOU. I blame the Guardian and pro human rights idiots, that protect those bogus students in my classes that can barely say a full sentence in English.
They also protect, those bogus students that don't speak English and work 50 hours a week in shops ran by folks from their countries (2nd or 3rd generation immigrants).
They also protect the Nepalese girl of my class that works in a Chinese take-away Friday and Saturday nights for £3 per hour. Or her friend that works at the same place for £2.5 per hour.
I'm fed up to be looked at in "funny ways", by Asians, Caribbeans, Somalis & etc - that nearly sucked this country dry. Came here 30 or 40 years ago, some as early as 10 years ago, lived on benefits, and now say that these immigrants are sucking the country.
Be honest with yourself:
Have been waiting for my visa extension for the past 5 months. And can't wait to finish my studies and go home.
What a nightmare!
Will be glad to remember all those pints downed, great times in London's amazing parks, unbelievable Cornwall, the Highlands, great gigs... What a country!
I should advocate in my favour (International Student), but I can't ! There are far too many bad apples out there...So I'd be crazy to believe I'll ever the out the "bag labeled: unwanted" AND MOST importantly, those bad apples are helped into this country by 2nd generation immigrations.
After 3 years (8months from now) , nearly £35000 poorer I'll head home, shocked with the Power of the British Media to Label people...
Queen Mary electronic register?
As a student of Queen Mary I can say that I have seen absolutely no evidence of any kind of registering system for students on my Computer Science course. The closest we had was a really anal lecturer last semester who devised a swipe card system to monitor attendance in his lectures which promptly broke down two weeks into the semester and was never replaced. Otherwise, attendance is just not monitored, other than for graded sessions in the computer lab.
When I am made President For Life...
...as is my due, I'm sure you'll agree, I intend to pass a law calling for the expulsion of all current students, and, furthermore, the revocation of the degrees of those already graduated, if they refer to their college as 'Uni'. It is UNIVERSITY. Or College. It is *not* 'Uni'.
That is all.
The overseas fees for our course are £17,018 plus £4,032 per year college fees.
The reason your fees aren't twice as much is these overseas students subsidising you - we couldn't afford to run our course (or dept) without overseas students.
Degrees and Attendance for Sale
There are various colleges and universities in UK which employ staff who sell degree certificates filled in like original and update records. Also you can buy attendance. These degrees are further used to get Post Study Work Permit and Highly Skilled Migrant Visa. So a person can get a UK degree and immigration status without even going to a university thanks to honest boffins employed by these businesses.
"Degrees and Attendance for Sale"
Name them. Or are you just reporting something a mate said? If you've proof of this, name them.
Who says it was "unintended consequences"? The far right-wing (which Labour has become) dislikes education, as it often leads to people questioning things. This plan was a good way to disrupt that, and it seems to be working just fine.
The problem with international students is...
...that they represent a significant income stream for the university. It is their money that is paying for a lot of the resources that the home students take for granted.
About 10 years ago, one of the departments at a university that I was involved in was hit by a drop of just under 50% on international intake for some reason. Home student numbers stayed the same, but the funding difference resulted in the subsequent closure of that department.
That university already have an electronic registration system in place across some schools, where students swipe/scan their Student ID card on entry to/exit from/during the lecture. Finance (for one school at least and I am fairly sure across the entire university) is attendance-driven, not necessarily enrolment-driven. If less people attend, the school get less money. That is a big incentive to establish a system that proves attendance, and to run a department dedicated to making sure that people attend.
Paris, because there is an international angle there that I wouldn't mind investigating further
Less international lecturers please
Students need to be able to understand the person speaking to them.
lol... this reminded me of a funny maths lecture i had in my bachelor degree in Sydney.
We had a maths lecture in second year, a massive class of about 400 people and a lecturer from pakistan who at the best of times you just could not understand but one particular lecture every one was sitting there, looking at each other and you could just see that no-one work out what he was saying. After about 15 minutes a pakistani student in the front row put his hand up and said "Sir, whilst i have no problem understanding you, it might be a good idea if you taught the lecture in English...!"
If the universities don't like it..
...they should have clamped down on staff selling places to people not qualified to take the courses concerned (e.g. not speaking any English) - like those coming for free NHS treatment for some pre-existing condition and never attending the course.