The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the plans of 79% current and potential international students in the UK, as seen in a survey conducted by Studying-in-UK.org portal. COVID-19 is prevalent during a time when the UK has seen a rise in international student numbers due to its excellent education system and outstanding universities. The education sector has undertaken numerous precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the health of the population.
The survey was carried out by asking more than 18,000 students whether their plans to study in the UK had been impacted by the current coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, a majority of the respondents said that their plans had been affected. This is as a result of the major changes currently happening in the higher education sector in the UK, where classes are being held online and already-organized events, like conferences, field trips, or other curricular activities are being cancelled.
In a bid towards halting the spread of the virus, countries around the world have imposed travel restrictions that advise against all non-essential travel. And, seeing that the UK has a considerate number of infected persons, right now, it is crucial to prevent the human consequences that the virus might cause. Many domestic and international students have left campus to be home during the pandemic as universities have started conducting classes online.
Just recently, hundreds of thousands of UK students have petitioned for tuition fee reimbursements due to the coronavirus pandemic. Domestic and international students in the UK believe that the conditions under which their classes are being held are unworthy of the tuition fees they were required to pay. The current coronavirus situation, as well as the extended strikes of the year, have disrupted student-staff interaction, which, the students believe, largely contributes to better student performance.
This year’s summer exams, including GCSEs, A levels, and other qualifications have been cancelled and students are expected to be graded on a “class performance basis” without the need to enter the exam. Although students have expressed their concerns regarding this year’s grading methods, they have been assured that their grades will hold the same value they did in the previous years and will not be disregarded as otherwise.
UK universities might be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic if the situation lasts longer than expected. Developing efficient and comprehensive online teaching methods and providing extensive learning materials and opportunities online, would be beneficial for both universities and students. Currently, it is important that everyone follows government advice by social distancing and self-isolating. There’s evidence that the virus spreads from person to person, through cough/sneeze droplets, so it is essential to keep good hand hygiene as well as proper respiratory hygiene. (Find more information on coronavirus for international students here).