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Going to university in 2020

(190 Posts)
varian Fri 25-Sep-20 19:27:45

Why go to university?

Firstly, for education, either vocational or just to learn for learning's sake.

Secondly, for the experience and the opportunity to form lasting friendships.

In 2020 the movement of a million or more students around the country is inevitably a risk to public health and should be questioned.

If they are studying science, medicine or engineering or a few other courses which require lab facilities, they have to be onsite.

If they are studying subjects which only involve reading, discussing and writing essays, all of that could just as well be done from home.

Of course online learning does not offer the social experience leading to lifelong friendships but the Covid restrictions are restricting social interactions to such an extent that social interactions are severely limited.

Would it not have been, in the present exceptional circumstances, better to offer most students online courses at a reduced fee (or the option of deferring for a year) and only provide onsite learning for the courses where that is necessary?

That way the students who have to be on campus could live and be taught in better spaced out facilities.

NotSpaghetti Fri 25-Sep-20 19:38:14

The universities are desperate to fill the halls for which they charge a massive fee. That's why they want them on campus.

BUT the sheer amount of work involved in teaching online at this level is extraordinary. I think the £9,000 is arguably worth it for the first time ever!
I don't know about all subjects but my husband was working all through lockdown every day including weekends until the end of the summer. He was teaching online through till the exams. Weekdays he started at 8am and invariably worked till 8 at night. Now retired, his colleagues say they are already exhausted and the new semester has only just begun.

His university is expecting staff to teach online till 9pm including Saturdays.

NotSpaghetti Fri 25-Sep-20 19:39:42

Actually, I think universities should really be grant funded so my comments about the fees are intended as a throw-away!

growstuff Sat 26-Sep-20 08:06:20

NotSpaghetti My son is at a Russell Group uni and has had hardly any teaching, face-to-face or online since January. First, lecturers were on strike, then there was lockdown. He's had various assignments to complete, but they were all written and he was expected to do his own research without support.

He's supposed to be returning in October and has been promised three hours of face-to-face seminars a week, but there has been no mention of online lectures. At the moment, he's assuming that there won't be any and he'll be expected to do all research independently.

varian Sat 26-Sep-20 08:25:30

Some students are asking why they've been sent to their university at this time

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-54292728

FannyCornforth Sat 26-Sep-20 08:39:08

I heard on the radio this morning that loads of students are just going home.
They can't stand the prospect of being forced to not go home for Christmas amongst other things.

FannyCornforth Sat 26-Sep-20 08:45:22

I've just read your article.
So irresponsible.
Can't this country do anything right in this crisis?

Lexisgranny Sat 26-Sep-20 08:51:33

One of my grandchildren had opted to have a gap year and has a place for 2021. Initially there was disappointment because a very exciting year had been planned, but seeing what is happening now I am very glad for the deferment, hopefully by next year things will have settled down. Thankfully the other grandchildren have either graduated or are at gcse/A level stage, though who knows where that is going.

Teetime Sat 26-Sep-20 10:17:08

I dont see why the fee should be £9K a year if its on- line only. The OU have been doing this for years far more economically.

growstuff Sat 26-Sep-20 10:18:03

FannyCornforth

I heard on the radio this morning that loads of students are just going home.
They can't stand the prospect of being forced to not go home for Christmas amongst other things.

I can't say I blame them. Many of them will have been through the A level fiasco and for this to happen is terrible. The first year at uni is stressful for many at the best of times.

biba70 Sat 26-Sep-20 10:19:43

At a time when we need 1000s of doctors and nurses in the NHS, this is a disaster- as an aside.

growstuff Sat 26-Sep-20 10:20:05

Teetime

I dont see why the fee should be £9K a year if its on- line only. The OU have been doing this for years far more economically.

Not that much more economically, but I agree that it's an absolute rip off, especially if they're in university accommodation, for which they'll have taken out an additional loan.

PS. It's £9250.

Nonnie Sat 26-Sep-20 10:29:46

Teetime

I dont see why the fee should be £9K a year if its on- line only. The OU have been doing this for years far more economically.

The OU cancelled the last module in the summer because of the pandemic! Those students didn't get what they paid for.

I don't have any answers but I remember just a week or so ago students were complaining about having to work online and wanted face to face tuition.

I do think we need to look at this from all perspectives, none of us knew it was coming and, hopefully, all are doing their best. Even landlords have to live, for some it is their only pension.

Perhaps students are being forced to recognise that life isn't fair? We are all learning something from the pandemic.

growstuff Sat 26-Sep-20 10:34:31

So it's fair for them to pay £9250 plus the same again for rent for an experience they're not getting?

I don't think it's the students' responsibility to make up for the shortfall in landlords' income.

growstuff Sat 26-Sep-20 10:36:42

PS. Some private student accommodation is appalling and I have no sympathy at all for the landlords of such property. Maybe they should find a source of pension which doesn't involve ripping off other human beings.

Furret Sat 26-Sep-20 10:41:25

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Nonnie about looking at it from all perspectives. Everyone is suffering the students, the universities, the landlords.

Ditto out there in industry, retail, entertainment, sport, public private sectors, etc..Some more than others.

Like you I don’t have the answers, but, given the lack of leadership I hope that gradually compromises and some sort of solution will eventually emerge.

Ellianne Sat 26-Sep-20 10:49:32

The difficulty is ensuring the young person is both happy and healthy. At that age being happy means furthering one's learning in a sharing environment and mixing with large groups of students. The health side of things is, at this moment in time, incompatible.
In the UK most students leave home to study, which in turn creates a lot of movement around the country. I understand that that is part of their agenda (to cut the apron strings), but maybe staying more in one's own town or in the area would help both financially and in terms of safety in the future?

Ellianne Sat 26-Sep-20 10:56:06

Over half of the 58 cases of coronavirus in Devon in the past seven days can be traced to the University of Exeter, it has confirmed.
We have been lucky with a very low number of cases so far in Devon, but this spells a change and is creating upset.

paddyanne Sat 26-Sep-20 10:56:07

I'm afraid I'm about to be very disliked....aren't these young people meant to be the intelligent ones of their generation? Should they have stuck to the advice they were given when they arrived.No parties,no big groups stick within your own household.if it was one of mine who had blatantly thought they weren't obligated to follow advice and then moaned about being in isolation I'd be having a long talk with them about responsibility and common sense .These young people appear to be lacking in both.If I thought I was sending mine to uni at a huge expense just so they can party ,I'd be appalled.Many of us were married with families at that age ,maybe they've been babied too long .

Furret Sat 26-Sep-20 11:02:38

paddyanne I’m not going to pillory you for posting that, as there is certainly some truth in what you wrote.

But while many, more sensible students, will curtail their activities there are certainly some who lack common sense and think to hang with the consequences.

FannyCornforth Sat 26-Sep-20 11:06:57

Risky behaviour in adolescents and young adults is a biological imperative.
As is socialising and forming relationships.
They are just doing what they are genetically programmed to do.
It is very, very difficult.
They are safer at home. Safer for everyone.

Chewbacca Sat 26-Sep-20 11:12:23

I watched a news video yesterday of some students out celebrating their freshers week; drinking in bars, partying and generally enjoying themselves before the 22.00 curfew began. Obviously no social distancing. A few of them were then bemoaning the fact they felt that they were being scapegoated by older people and they felt that they had already sacrificed enough and shouldn't be expected to sacrifice any more. I was a bit shock when I heard that some students at Manchester Uni, on being told that they must self isolate for 14 days, were complaining that they were "being held against their will".

FannyCornforth Sat 26-Sep-20 11:16:09

That age group aren't renowned for their common sense.
I thought that school were the weakest link in all of this, but it seems that Universities are even worse.
We need to get a grip and fast.

growstuff Sat 26-Sep-20 11:25:21

Furret

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Nonnie about looking at it from all perspectives. Everyone is suffering the students, the universities, the landlords.

Ditto out there in industry, retail, entertainment, sport, public private sectors, etc..Some more than others.

Like you I don’t have the answers, but, given the lack of leadership I hope that gradually compromises and some sort of solution will eventually emerge.

So ... if you had paid £18,000 for a holiday and turned up at the airport to be told that the holiday had been cancelled, but you could stay in an airport broom cupboard with a video of your holiday destination, you wouldn't complain?

I take it that those of you "blaming" students don't have 18 year old children or grandchildren leaving home for the first time to go to university.

It's not up to students to subsidise landlords' pensions.

Nonnie Sat 26-Sep-20 11:25:55

growstuff

So it's fair for them to pay £9250 plus the same again for rent for an experience they're not getting?

I don't think it's the students' responsibility to make up for the shortfall in landlords' income.

Is it fair on the landlord to subsidise a tenant who broke their agreement?