Students’ fury as many face fresh term of online classes

Colonialism school lessons labelled 'dangerous' by McGovern

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York University student Matt Ward-Perkins, 22, said it was “unfair” for some people to be taught virtually despite Covid rules being the same across the country. Sheffield, Sussex and Southampton plan to offer in-person studies, with students expected to be on campus from the beginning of the academic year this week. The remaining 24 universities in a snap poll – that included Cam­bridge and Oxford – will offer “blended learning” with a mix of online and face-to-face classes. Matt, a fourth-year philosophy student, said: “I know how much I lost in learning when things were online at the start of the pandemic, and don’t want to do that again.”

There is, he added, still confusion as to how many lessons would be in-person despite the academic year restarting next week for many.

He said: “As someone with parts of my course in four different departments, I was sent four different sets of information about how much teaching would be in person but surely the Covid risks are the same for everyone?” And Maria Volpe, a postgraduate journalism student at London’s Kingston University, said: “Students are paying the same amount of money as always for fewer, less effective classes, and it’s not fair on them.”

The 25-year-old added: “Following a class on Teams or Zoom is challenging in so many ways, and it’s definitely not worth 10 grand a year.”

The Daily Express has highlighted the plight of students during the pandemic through our Fair Deal For Students crusade. 

Thousands of students, who can pay fees of around £9,000 a year, have signed petitions calling for lessons to return to face to face.

Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, of the National Union of Students, was concerned some universities could be using remote learning to slash costs.

She added: “Nothing can replace the ability to socialise with and learn from your peers, or to engage with face-to-face, interactive teaching and learning and to have a full campus life.”

Universities UK said its members were “maximising face-to-face opportunities for students. Some elements, such as large lectures, may remain online where there are clear benefits for students or for public health reasons”.

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