Should universities refund students for cancelled lectures?


Photo: Jane Barlow/PA

#tyro #STUDY #universitystrike #strike #lecturestrike #UCU #UCUstrikes

Over the course of February and March, 64 universities are predicted to be affected by the UCU action which saw members voting in tremendous numbers for imminent strike action. Lecturers from up and down the country are walking out of their roles in solidarity against the proposed USS changes to their pensions. While many students may be rallying the troops and supporting our lecturers in the biggest strike ever documented in the Higher Education sector, students also feel they are the losers in this situation.

With disruption to their education, thousands of students are calling on their institutions to reimburse them for their cancelled lectures. While a cancelled lecture may seem like a godsend when you're nursing a hangover, these strikes mean that students are losing out on hundreds of pounds worth of education over the course of the next few weeks. Not to mention contact hours which are critical in the second term, due to deadlines, exams and dissertations.

Not only does this mean that many students will have to sit exams with almost 50% of the content not being covered, but also final year students completing dissertations will not be given the support and feedback which is so essential over the next few weeks. This means that students' grades, which affect the rest of their university career and lives are at the mercy of this strike.

While compensation for the missed lectures will not make up for the face-to-face contact time students will have missed with their teachers, it will certainly soften the blow. Students already feel that they pay an unreasonable amount for their education (this, however, is a discussion for another day) and to see it go to waste is incredibly frustrating. Students pay £27,000+ for their education and most are left with that debt, on top of their maintenance loans, for the rest of their lives.

This is not to say that students do not support their academics in this movement, both students and lecturers want to come to a fair conclusion which enables staff peace of mind and allows them to focus solely on their job. However, to put it simply - students have paid for their education, and over the course of this strike, it will not be delivered. It's only fair to the students that they are given back what they have lost.

Do you think students should be refunded for lost teaching time?