BY ERUDERA COLLEGE NEWS OCTOBER 31, 2021
The government has now lifted restrictions on in-person teaching, so higher education providers should not be limiting face-to-face education or other university activities, Minister of State for Universities of the United Kingdom, Michelle Donelan said in a letter she wrote to higher education providers in the country.
“Students deserve a fair deal. There are no government restrictions on face to face teaching. I’ve written to every university, making clear we expect them to be offering a high quality face-to-face student experience, in both teaching and extra-curricular activities,” Minister Donelan wrote on Twitter.
In her letter to higher education institutions, Donelan said that expectations are that students returning to university can benefit from in-person education, student support, and the extracurricular activities which enrich university life, Erudera.com reports.
“As a Government, we have been clear in our view that where blended learning is used, it should enhance students’ academic experience by making learning more accessible for students, including those who cannot yet attend face-to-face lectures, and freeing up in-person teaching for higher-quality, interactive sessions,” she writes.
Donelan thanked all higher education providers that have implemented a significant return to in-person teaching but added that many students are concerned about too much activity remaining online and for not getting the high-quality in-person experience they have been promised.
According to her, online education should not be used to cut costs and should not reduce the quality that higher education institutions offer.
The most recent survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on COVID-19 and higher education students has found that 90 percent of students are already vaccinated against COVID-19, 78 percent said they had received two doses of the vaccine, while 12 percent are vaccinated with only one dose.
Minister said that these vaccination rates are the key reasons why cases among students and staff have remained low. She advised universities to encourage all students to take up their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and staff to take the offer of a booster vaccination once they are eligible.
ONS survey including first-year students has revealed that 53 percent of students would prefer blended learning in the future, with a mix of in-person and virtual lectures or seminars, 40 percent prefer only face-to-face education, while 5 percent only online lectures.
38 percent of students said they did not feel well prepared for studying at university due to the absence of face-to-face learning, 18 percent said they have not been affected, and 14 percent said they felt well prepared.