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UK: Biometric management system for unis hits market

A new biometric student attendance management system for public universities in the UK has hit the market. Based on time management systems used by businesses, the Student Attendance Management System (SAMS) has been designed specifically for HE institutions to comply with UKBA requirements.

"We believe that our offering enables organisations to do this in both a cost-effective and least-invasive way"

BQu, a time management company, launched a similar product in the middle of last year for private institutions. To date, 15 providers use the system to keep track of international students, it reports.

“Compliance with UKBA regulations and retaining sponsor licences is absolutely a key issue in UK the sector at the moment.” Ian Pack, head of business development at BQu, told The PIE News.

“We believe that our offering enables organisations to do this in both a cost-effective and least-invasive way in supporting how they work. But also I think the key advantage is that the system has minimal upfront set up costs because it’s a cloud based system.”

A central control dashboard provides instant information on any late or missing students

BQu worked with specialists to ensure the system is compliant with UKBA requirements. It allows universities to monitor, manage and record all required student attendance information using finger print scanners. A central control dashboard provides instant information on any late or missing students.

Students who are late or missing are automatically flagged up to the administrative staff. The system also reports in real time meaning a student’s whereabout can be traced and reported at all times.

Pack said the cost for SAMS depends on installation and the needs of each university. Some varieties include a large centralised system or mini system for each faculty.

Despite the UKBA requiring universities to prove international student attendance in order to have a sponsoring license, in a letter to universities last week it clarified that they do not need to invest in attendance monitoring systems or necessarily introduce biometric tests.

Still, BQu has already attracted interest in the public HE sector after launching its product to private educators less than a year ago. “Already we’re working with three institutions who are very keen to take discussions further forward,” said Pack.

Because the system is cloud-based, meaning it can be used from any computer with an internet connection, BQu has plans to expand internationally. “This is an international project and it’s entirely suitable for delivery internationally, but our priority at the moment is the UK.”

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