University is not just about gaining a qualification. For many students, University provides an opportunity to learn practical skills and gain real-life experiences that empower you to graduate with confidence and determine your future.
But the truth is that this academic year has been one of the hardest in history to be a university student; across the UK, the student experience is not what it is supposed to be. Many students in the UK are studying remotely, without the equipment they need, in spaces that aren't designed for study, without the opportunity to build social connections, without face-to-face mental health support, without the financial security of part-time work...and the many inequalities that exist in society are compounded for students this year.
In the face of all this, the government has promised students the same quality of education as before the pandemic to justify no change in fees. It is still the government's belief that the education you're getting this year is the same quality it always has been.
At Southbank SU, we obviously disagree. This is why we have been working with other students' unions to try to build support for a national lobbying effort for the government to compensate students for the false promises and distress they have caused them this academic year.
Let's be clear; universities are trying so hard to deliver the experience that the government is insisting on charging students full fees for. LSBU students know this and truly appreciate the effort that staff are making to give them the best possible experience in the circumstances. At South Bank, the IT incident has disrupted online learning at a time when all learning has moved online. Placements and practical elements have also been impacted by the pandemic. These things cause significant disruption to staff as well as students.
We know that the university has sincerely tried, successfully in the majority of occasions, to deliver the high quality of education that students were promised this academic year. However, it is inevitable in these circumstances that some students may be feeling like the expectations set by the university have not been met.
We feel that in any circumstances where the university has not kept promises to students, the university should make that right by finding a solution that affected students are happy with - which could include compensation. If you are a student feeling this way, we advise that you first talk to your course director to find an informal resolution. If you still feel this way after doing that, you are able to submit a formal complaint with advice from the SU Advice Team. We have had reassurances from the university that they will take these complaints seriously and will deliver resolutions for students who have not had the experience they have been promised.
We at the SU are doing everything we can to represent your academic interests, to the university and nationally. The university has agreed with us about the no detriment policy and rent fee waivers. So if you are facing any difficulties, please do contact the SU team so we can help represent your interests effectively.
Stay safe and keep going.
Your SU elected sabbatical officer team
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