Students are calling for lower tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year as online teaching remains the major mean of learning at universities.
The petition, which was published on petition.parlament.uk three days ago, has already gathered more than 150,000 signatures and still counting. Parliament should now consider the petition for a debate as it has already reached the minimum of 100,000 signatures.
Students disagree with paying a whole amount of fees as remote learning cannot fully substitute the classic education. Staying in front of their computers instead of attending classes on campus or being unable to access university facilities as usual is not what they expect when they pay for tutions, according to them.
“Tuition fees remain at 9.2k a year plus interest which hasn’t been addressed. Thousands of 1st-year students have been forced into isolation with no consideration of the effects this will have on mental health. I’m asking the government to lower tuition fees until learning goes back to normal.” said Georgia Henderson, a creator of the petition.
Lots of students also complain about a lack of practical skills, which could be a serious problem for their future employability.
“I signed the petition because the quality of online education is very low in comparison to education on campus. The way of learning is also disorganized and even though that it isn’t a fault of tutors, students aren’t continuously able to educate themselves adequately.” said one of the students.
Many international students are forced to stay in their allocated rooms at university residences and a lot of them are now wondering whether to stay or move back to their home countries.
“As a first-year student, I couldn’t enjoy many opportunities like Freshers’ week and I’m not even able to socialize with others. I’ve considered leaving the UK and moving back to my home country, but what would I do, if things suddenly changed and we were able to attend classes again? ” commented another student.
Since the start of a new academic year, the Covid-19 situation has not improved, therefore most universities are providing lectures through ‘blended learning’. This approach of education combinates online learning via digital media with a traditional place-based classroom method. However, online learning still strongly dominates over teaching on campus.