University students are gaining degrees with ‘little or no work,’ a Which? study has recently claimed. This has raised concerns over the worth of higher education courses, especially those costing £9,000 a year, with universities being accused of lowering standards.
The report has called for tougher regulations on universities, including making it easier to strip institutions of their power to give degrees and the introduction of “super complaints” concerning failings across the higher education system.
Wide-spread surveys have suggested that the average workload for students is under 30 hours a week, which is 25 percent less than national guidelines suggest. The surveys also found that 25 percent of students believe they will get good grades despite doing very little private study, with some even claiming that this was the case for them in previous years.
The study has also raised concerns about the number of teaching hours students are receiving after 29 percent of students surveyed suggested they are doing less hours of work than they did at school. Psychology students surveyed claimed first-hand teaching from an academic was as little as four hours a week at Exeter compared with 10 hours at Glasgow.
Despite government-backed surveys suggesting that student satisfaction is at an all-time high, Which? found evidence of significant concerns specifically about academic standards. Many students felt that they were lacking academic challenges.
Vice-president of the National Union of Students, Megan Dunn, said students are “increasingly treated like supermarket customers” and believed that high fees have “undermined higher education’s status as a public good”.
First year English student India Humphreys shares this opinion: “It undermines the entire reason for having a degree; [doing extra work] shows you have put some time and effort into something difficult”.
These reports come just two years after the new tuition fee regime, which allowed universities to raise the cost of an English degree from an average of around £3,000 to £9,000 a year.
Yvette Stimson, News Teambookmark me