Part or chapter of a book
Digitized paper barriers. Identity verifications and exclusion of immigrant learners in Johannesburg's low-income high schools
Identification and Citizenship in Africa. Biometrics, the Documentary State and Bureaucratic Writings of the Self
London : Routledge
81 - 100 p.
South Africa, identification documentation, high schools, immigrant learners
How are the practices for verifying the identity of immigrant learners informed by the devices on which school staff rely? An analysis of the materiality and utilization of these devices in low-income Johannesburg high schools reveals that they form a mixed regime of identification in which documentary verification predominates and is linked with interpersonal certification and digital authentication. This mixed regime fosters the exclusion of immigrant learners, as it supports the joint enforcement of migration control in schools by the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Home Affairs. Digitalization reinforces paper barriers to schooling in the form of identification documentation requirements by limiting school staff's ability to circumvent them, in contexts marked by precarity and ordinary xenophobia.