Why are universities planning to “defy” government advice and continue with online learning next year? How is that right when festivals, clubs and pubs have all reopened and most of our university students have already had Covid (twice in my son’s case) and will mainly be double vaccinated when they head back in the Autumn? My son is going back into third year, having basically missed a whole year of in-person lectures and all the socialising that goes with university life. Third year will already be a different experience for him as it’s meant to be when you get your head down and start working hard, so why can he not benefit from the wider experience when he’s still having to pay the same fee of £9,250K a term? What do the lecturers want to do? Surely they’d prefer to see their students in the flesh rather than continue on Zoom from home? Of course there’s always been an online option in tertiary education – we all know students are notoriously bad at getting to their morning lectures, but more than ever, their mental health and social needs should be addressed. This should be a priority for our young people and I don’t understand why they are dragging their heels.
(Photo by Philippe Bout)
Of course I understand that there will be “blended” learning – a mixture of online and face to face learning from now on and that the pandemic has changed the way we all work, but isolation is surely a significant concern for our students and much of university life is about the people you meet. I’m worried that the real life learning will only be offered for the tutorials and small groups and that the large lecture halls will remain empty.
Why are they talking about keeping the masks? Why the social distancing? Our students don’t need that protection now that we seem to be successfully opening up slowly but surely. Will the student petitions make any difference? Perhaps it’s time us parents stepped outside (when it stops torrentially bloody raining) with our placards? This is not fair on them – especially when UCAS has declared that applications have increased and they are expecting a record number of students to start in the autumn. Is it because they’re still not getting the overseas fees and need to save money?
For those in first year, will there be the re-introduction of Freshers Week and if not, why not? They’re all basically doing that anyway through the summer months and it’s essential that they be allowed to socialise and merge at uni as much as possible. It’s frankly the most important part of university life in my opinion.
Anyone else ready to march??