by Izzy Morgan
It has to be said university students usually have it good when it comes to the educative experience. For all the sleepless nights spent on assignments, we have Wednesday nights at the SU. And for every exam, there’s at least ten times the amount of awesome memories made due to the fact you’re living with some of your best friends. Unlike GCSE’s and A-Levels, we only have one subject to worry about and it is usually something we’re actually interested in.
These are all redeeming factors in my eyes (and tend to distract me from the fact that every day we are adding to a huge pile of student debt). However, if the last few weeks have taught us naive students anything, it is the fact that the government has no bearing over our education at all. Understandably and yet frustratingly, university students have been totally abandoned.
With no word from the government about the fact we are just over nine grand in debt for a year of teaching which has been totally compromised by the UCU strikes in November of 2019 and February and March of this year, followed by coronavirus. Safe to say, universities trying to claim that online teaching is worth £100 (sometimes more) for a lecture recording is crazy and a disrespect to its students – better known as its paying customers.
“With varying situations from person-to-person during this pandemic, no student should be persecuted in terms of marks.”
There is no access to libraries, with many students being unable to access necessary materials such as books, laptops, printers and WiFi which they might not have access to at home. Powerless in our efforts so far trying to lobby to get our fees back, students are becoming increasingly disenfranchised with doing work at all. Lack of uniformity, direction and effective communication being viewed as major factors contributing to this.
The real heartbreaking stories come from those who are final year students not receiving ample guidance and proper plans for graduation, especially due to the interruption from the aforementioned strikes. All the years of hard work, to be left unacknowledged by some universities or even worse in my opinion, the idea that an online graduation ceremony is acceptable. Obviously, not every university is planning this, but the horror stories do vary from different parts of the country. Furthermore, government intervention should also be taking place on the grading in some universities, with differing policies at each. The commendable ‘no-detriment’ policy at Exeter University is to be admired whereas in other universities such as Oxford people are still expected to complete the full workload despite the stress faces, and graded as they would usually be. With varying situations from person-to-person during this pandemic, no student should be persecuted in terms of marks.
Frustrations are mounting from students around the country about the government’s silence on these issues. Students are taking to social media to air their misgivings to little avail with Facebook pages such as Overheard, Twitter feeds and even TikTok being bombarded. Potentially, the most infuriating part of all of this is the universities’ pitiful excuse of a ‘response’. Widely discussed online, is the annoyance of getting ten different ‘COVID-19 UPDATE’ emails a day which all say virtually the same as the ones you received yesterday.
The government is fundamentally letting university students down by allowing universities to continue in their charging of students in the first degree, and justifying sub-par education which isn’t accessible for all students to be considered when grading performance.