Becky Hartnup spoke to Khilona Radia about the benefits and limitations of online education, and the extent to which it can enable learning to continue through a pandemic. Khilona provides some suggestions for institutions and providers delivering online education in the current challenging circumstances.
Higher Education is going through a seismic change. Social, political, and economic disruption is increasing questions around the role of universities: research versus teaching, social mobility, contribution to the economy. Restrictions on international mobility have created huge logistical and financial problems for institutions increasingly depended on a global market. Campus closures made a major tactical pivot towards new technology absolutely necessary, even where there was a poor fit with an institution’s existing strategy and competencies.
How the digital disruption of Higher Education can boost inclusivity – and why it matters for your institution and your students
If your university is responding to the disruption of 2020 by investing in technology, it is worth considering whether your approach can boost inclusivity and diversity.
Higher education has always been more challenging for certain groups of students, because of gender, ethnicity, economic background. “Evidence suggests that an imbalance in diversity can lead to individuals from ethnic minorities feeling less included within their educational environment”, with research suggesting that BAME students’ sense of belonging can impact their university experience, including their likelihood of dropping out and overall attainment. In 2020, the gap in progression rates by age 19 between Free School Meal and non-Free School Meal pupils has increased to 18.8 percentage points - up 0.2 percentage points since last year and the highest gap since 2006/07.
“So far there is no long-term decision or reciprocal deal on how UK students in the EU, or EU students in the UK, will be treated post-Brexit.” With the future of the United Kingdom’s position in the European Union still unclear, institutions and professional bodies are speculating on the impact leaving the EU may have on widening participation efforts, particularly in terms of economic slowdown.
Findings from the Higher Education Statistics Agency released in February 2019 show that the percentage of full-time first degree students coming from state schools in the UK dropped in the 2017–2018 academic year. The decrease from 90% to 89.8% sees the first dip in this number for eight years.