After many students are now studying away from home in response to recent Covid-19 constraints, a petition calling on the UK government to slash university tuition fees is circulating.
The petition, which has now received more than 160,000 signatures, calls for tuition fees for university students to be lowered in England from £ 9250 to £ 3000, despite concerns that Covid-19 has made the potential economy and job market of the nation “unsafe.”
One student who posted the social media petition said, “It is appalling the way students have been treated during this pandemic.”
“We can’t access facilities and don’t have the standard of online tuition that is worth £9250.”
Sign the petition. You can’t forget us forever. #WeDeserveBetter https://t.co/wAYONiI14G #tuitionfees
– Resistance of students (@SRLstudents) January 5, 2021
Another added,’ During this pandemic, the only time students were listed was when the media/government blamed us for the increase in cases.
“Now is the time to acknowledge that the quality of teaching/resources is NOT worth the £9250 we are paying.”
It was also proposed that all students around the UK, as well as foreign students, should be included in the petition.
One international student said, “The request to reduce tuition fees to less than a third by the UK government appears to exclude international students. We are paying about £ 15,995.”
“All students [in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland]should benefit from the initiative. As for all petitions receiving more than 10,000 signatures, the UK government will respond to the petition and Parliament will accept the concerns posed in the petition for discussion, since it has more than 100,000 signatures.
“Rule on “non-discrimination”?
Meanwhile, a petition was launched calling for the University of Edinburgh to reinstate its students with a “no-discrimination” policy, similar to the scheme placed in place during the first lockdown in March.
“The petition reads, “The University of Edinburgh launched a ‘support not impede’ program back in March 2020.
This meant that only on a non-harmful basis would the remaining tests and coursework that students had to complete at home after escaping Edinburgh be measured.
The strategy ensured that at the end of the academic year, the average of students would be equal to or greater than the average they had obtained through the tests they had already taken.
“The university thankfully acknowledged that these were not normal times, and the safety net was greatly appreciated by students who were forced to take their final exams and assessments in a ‘unprecedented’ amount of time.”
The petition organizer, however, now says that in the 2020/21 academic year, after a semester of online learning and another national lockdown ahead of them, fourth-year students were not so fortunate.
“The university has so far failed to provide these students with a ‘no detriment’ policy, despite the fact that they are facing far more disruption to their studies than they did in early 2020,” the petition states.
In a letter from @richardlochhead, university and college principals were advised that all classes that can be taken online during the current era of tightened coronavirus restrictions (which came into force at midnight) must be conducted online. Letter: pic.twitter.com/IfwPBQBLz11 Letter: https://t.co/GNYp2fr3LY
– Education from ScotGov (@ScotGovEdu) January 5, 2021
These students deserve the same degree of security afforded to the 2020 class, if not more, and so we call for the ‘no detriment’ policy to be restored.
“We appreciate that the university is doing everything it can to help us, but a safety net is an absolute necessity at this point to protect students’ grades, their mental health and their trust in our education provider.”
Alex Jardine Paterson shared her experience, saying, “Instead of doing my own research, I was only able to choose my dissertation project from a list – we can not do hands-on experiments and gather data.”
When you are given a subject rather than coming up with your own, it is unfair to expect parity with previous years (in terms of excitement and playing to one’s strengths, which inevitably impact grades).
I think “No Detriment” does.