Shadow Education Secretary quizzed over hybrid university learning

11 August 2021, 08:14

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Nick Ferrari questioned Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green over hybrid learning after a backlash from university students over online lectures.

"I don't think we should assume all remote learning is second rate," the Labour MP told Nick.

Yesterday, 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.

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.

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.

Nick asked the Shadow Education Secretary if she would support the slashing of fees for students facing blended learning.

The Labour MP said there needed to be a system that "doesn't deter" students from taking part in higher education.

She said there was evidence that the level of fees and debt is becoming more of a "deterrent" for some students.

"I think we have to acknowledge that often those debts are not repaid, either in part or in full."

Yesterday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson faced criticism after he suggested that universities should not be charging full tuition fees if they are not "delivering what students expect".

Mr Williamson has said the Government expects all universities to be moving back to delivering face-to-face teaching, including lectures, unless there are "unprecedented reasons".