Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said there were “no excuses” for universities not to offer face-to-face learning despite a surge in Covid infections and the absence of staff.
Mr. Zahawi said he expected universities “to offer personal training … you have to provide it” and that students who “feel they are not getting good value for money” file complaints “with the student office” should.
In conversation with the Sunday times, Mr Zahawi’s comments come as a number of universities have offered online or blended learning this semester and schools have suffered from staff shortages.
The newspaper reported that Durham University will be teaching all courses online for the first week of the semester, Queen’s University Belfast will be teaching most courses online this month and King’s College London has also switched some courses to distance learning.
According to the paper, more than 100 institutions, including 23 of the Russell Group’s top 24, plan to offer a mix of online and face-to-face teaching this semester.
Mr. Zahawi pointed to elementary and secondary schools as examples that should be followed.
“They do it in elementary and secondary schools and colleges. I expect universities to do the same, otherwise explain why not. There are no excuses, we’re all sticking together, ”he said.
But he also said the paperwork staff absenteeism was around 8.5%.
Former teachers were asked last week to help return to classrooms to fill absences and at least 500 of them have, the Stratford-on-Avon MP said.
Mr Zahawi announced last week that face covers will be required in classrooms at least until Jan. 26 in response to the surge in infections in the current Omicron wave.
More stories from where you live can be found at Near you.