The Scotsman

Uni­ver­si­ties urged to strike bal­ance

- Education · Infectious Diseases · College · Higher Education · Nicola Sturgeon · Scottish Government · Health Conditions

Scot­land’s uni­ver­si­ties have been urged to strike the “right bal­ance” in pro­vid­ing a nor­mal cam­pus ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents dur­ing the Covid pan­demic.

Ni­cola Stur­geon warned to­day she could not give “any guar­an­tees” about a re­turn to lec­ture theatres as Scots uni­ver­si­ties be­gan to re­turn this week with many stu­dents left to con­tend with on­line teach­ing.

The is­sue can un­der the spot­light at the daily Coron­avirus brief­ing to­day.

“I can’t give any guar­an­tees about any as­pect of this un­for­tu­nately be­cause of the na­ture of what we are deal­ing with,” Ms Stur­geon said in re­sponse to ques­tions about how long classes would re­main on­line.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment pub­lished its up­dated guid­ance last week for fur­ther and higher ed­u­ca­tion and Ms Sturgeeon said this “does en­vis­age a lot of teach­ing be­ing on­line, but also blended model of teach­ing.”

She added: “Ob­vi­ously ev­ery stu­dent wants to have a nor­mal col­lege or univer­sity ex­pe­ri­ence - this is not ideal for any­body right now.

“Par­tic­u­larly young peo­ple start­ing col­lege or univer­sity for the first time and hav­ing to study un­der th­ese restric­tions,it’s not good, it’s not fun, it’s not ideal for them.

“But again like all of this ad­vice it is there for a rea­son I would en­cour­age col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties to try to do, as I’m sure they will, strike the right bal­ance so stu­dents can have as nor­mal an ex­pe­ri­ence as pos­si­ble, but they can re­main safe and we min­imise the risk of trans­mis­sion.”

It emerged last month that uni­ver­si­ties are to ban lec­tures as in­sti­tu­tions ad­just to new Covid-19 restric­tions.

With ca­pac­ity in some rooms down to 20 per cent of what it was pre-pan­demic as a re­sult of two-me­tre so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules, faceto-face teach­ing will be lim­ited.

Some small small sem­i­nar groups may take place.

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