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Two-thirds of university students had NO face-to-face teaching

Two-thirds of university students had NO face-to-face teaching in November, report reveals

  • Office for National Statistics revealed students suffered decline in mental health 
  • Report said by late November, 65 per cent of students got no personal tuition
  • Survey of 100,000 students said they had stuck to lockdown like everyone else 

Two out of three university students in England had no face-to-face teaching in November, a report has found.

Most also suffered a decline in their mental health, according to the Office for National Statistics’s findings from surveys of 100,000 students.

The report said that by late November, 65 per cent of students were getting no personal tuition and were entirely reliant on online teaching.

The report said that by late November, 65 per cent of students were getting no personal tuition and were entirely reliant on online teaching (stock image)

The ONS added that the greatest risk of the virus spreading was in the halls of residence to which many students were confined, ‘with minimal evidence’ found of the virus spreading in face-to-face teaching settings.

Students have been sticking to lockdown and tier regulations as much as anyone else, the ONS said.

A spokesman for Universities UK said: ‘Throughout this term universities have endeavoured to provide as much in-person teaching… as they can.’ 

They added that universities have moved counselling and advice online to support students. 

The ONS said: ‘Many higher education students have found themselves in a unique situation, perhaps isolating in a household with others they do not know well.’

The findings produced by the ONS from a series of large-scale surveys suggest widespread misery among students. 

They will provide evidence to back claims that the universities, which usually charge fees of £9,250 a year, are failing to cope with the pressures of the pandemic on more than two million students.

The report said that by late November, towards the end of the autumn lockdown, 65 per cent of students were getting no personal tuition and were entirely reliant on online academic teaching. 

Two out of three university students in England had no face-to-face teaching in November, a report has found (file image) 

Half of all students said they will demand their fees back if online-only teaching continues next year.

Based on a survey of 100,000 students in England carried out between 20 and 25 November, the report said that ’65 per cent reported having attended no hours of in-person teaching, while 21 per cent reported having attended between one and five hours in person; half of students reported having attended six or more hours of remote learning.’

The ONS said there was little to justify the abandonment of personal teaching.

‘We found the risk of transmission to be greater in residential settings such as halls and student houses, with minimal evidence found of the virus being spread in face-to-face teaching settings such as classrooms and lecture theatres,’ the report said.

It added that the greatest risk of the virus spreading was within the halls of residence to which many students were confined.

‘Larger outbreaks occurred in halls of residences, suggesting this is an area that should be a focus for enhanced monitoring of the virus in the future,’ the ONS said.

Asked about the possibility that all university teaching may be shifted online when students return next month, four out of five said they would continue studying from home or return to their campuses from their Christmas vacation.

But the ONS said: ‘Half of students also reported that moving to online learning only would have a negative impact on their academic experience.

‘When asked about their fees if all university teaching was online from January, half of students reported that they would be likely or extremely likely to request a refund for part, or all of their fees.’

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