Foxconn reportedly pulling Chinese students out of school to build iPhones

There’s a weird story floating around the tech world today that Foxconn recently pulled Chinese students out of several colleges and forced them to work on the assembly lines in their factories.

The story stems from two separate, but corroborating, reports that say that Foxconn has been unable to find sufficient workforce to meet large iPhone 5 orders, so it’s forcing students to work…

The Verge passes along reports from both The Shanghai Daily and China National Radio, which confirm that several Chinese students were pulled out of school last week to work at Foxconn.

“The source, who claimed to be a student at the school, said the work began last Thursday. The student also said they are being paid a rate of 1,550 yuan (about $244) a month for six 12-hour days of work per week. The Shanghai Daily also reports it has corroborated the claims with “several” other students from at least five other colleges…

…A separate report on China National Radio claimed that some schools had even suspended classes for the next month or so in order to meet the internship’s demands, and quoted an education official who seemed baffled that the program was up and running during the school year.”

Teachers from local schools have admitted to China National Radio that their classes have been suspended for the next one or two months. But they soundly defended the reported “forced internships,” claiming they help students “experience working conditions” and promote individual ability.

This isn’t the first time Foxconn’s internship practices have come into question. As The Verge points out, a recent investigation by the Fair Labor Association had some harsh criticisms about the program.

A new report this afternoon claims that some students are now being allowed to return to school. But the fact that Foxconn forcibly pulled them out to fill empty worker spots in the first place is troubling.