Government 'puts pressure on universities' to restart classroom learning

10 August 2021, 08:24

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Nick Ferrari questions Education Secretary Gavin Williamson amid a row over 'blended learning' courses.

The conversation comes after Lord Baker of Dorking, former Conservative education secretary, said the decision to stick with online learning by some establishments was “outrageous” and urged universities to return to pre-pandemic learning.

Nick Ferrari asked Education Secretary Gavin Williamson if the, so called, 'blended learning' approach was the right one.

Mr Williamson said the government had told universities to carry out tuition and lectures face to face where possible.

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The Education Secretary said the government has "asked the Office for Students to do everything they can do in order to put pressures on universities in order to be able to welcome students back into the lecture theatre and not just the into the tutorial classroom."

Despite the lifting of all Covid restrictions in the England, and most in Scotland and Wales, 20 out of 24 Russell Group universities have said at least some of their undergraduate teaching will continue online.

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Students at Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool universities have launched petitions demanding reimbursement of tuition fees if there is not a return to a full return to "normality in terms of teaching".

Lord Baker backed this, insisting the Government is correct to consider cutting to cut the annual tuition fee to £7,500.   

Students at Manchester, where the petition has reached nearly 10,000 signatures, told LBC last month of their fury at the university’s plans to keep teaching parts of courses online.