Home Kent News University of Kent students’ fury as in-person group lectures scrapped

University of Kent students’ fury as in-person group lectures scrapped

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Original article from Kent Live

University of Kent students have written an open letter after it was announced that in-person teaching would not fully return in the next academic year.

With the current lockdown roadmap set to remove all lockdown measures by June 21, students are confused as to why the university has opted to keep restrictions on in-person teaching in place.

In short, this means that lectures are suspended indefinitely, which for many students will comprise a large part of their tuition.

Rhian Shillabeer, a second year studying Politics at the Canterbury campus, wrote the open letter, which was signed by 263 other students.


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It aired a number of grievances felt by the student body, emphasising the dissonance between the university's closure and the reopening of less essential events.

"If the roadmap out of lockdown continues to be a success, students will be allowed to socialise in large groups, for example in Venue and in clubs around Canterbury," the letter outlined.

"In addition, it is expected that everyone of university age will have been offered a first vaccine dose by the end of June, with many being able to receive two doses before the academic year begins in September.

"It is grossly unfair to expect students to pay the full amount of tuition for remote learning that is not well received, subpar and frankly not needed for safety measures in the given time frame of Autumn 2021."

Rhian told KentLive her entire second year has been online.

"I think I attended one lecture in October, when it was just starting to get a bit better," she added.

"It's really affected my grades, I think I had a 2:1 in first year, and then now I don't even think that I'm going to even get a 2:2 because of the quality of online learning."

Beyond academic results, Rhian emphasised the impact on wellbeing that comes with being largely confined to a student house to work.

"It's kind of a struggle to get your own space, and have your own learning environment.

"It was just a bit of like a stab in the back."

"It honestly couldn't have happened at a better time for me – I had my freshers I made my friends, I had that really fun first few months of university life.

"I'm not a third year, so I haven't missed out on my graduation or dissertation, but at the same time, it still feels like a betrayal."

"I know a vast majority of others have really not enjoyed and it hasn't benefited them."

The lack of in-person teaching comes while the student union is still able to reopen the on-campus nightclub, Venue.

'The safety of our students has remained our top priority'

The University of Kent

The University of Kent's Deputy Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, Professor Richard Reece, said: "While we expect our campuses will be fully open next academic year and are looking forward to welcoming our students back, it is widely anticipated that social distancing in some form will still be in place for universities across the country next autumn.

"With that in mind, we've focussed our planning on freeing up as much space as possible for face-to-face teaching such as seminars or lab sessions.

"This will be supported by large group lectures remaining online initially, although we hope to be able to relax this in early 2022.

"The safety of our students and staff has remained our top priority in preparing for the autumn, as we build on what we've learnt over the last year to make sure we give students the best possible chance of success.

"Feedback from our students is a key part of this, and as well as replying directly to the open letter, we have also invited all students to an upcoming webchat where we can discuss our plans for next year with them in more detail."

Original Article