Is it fair? Sheffield students differ on return to in person university teaching

Is it fair? National and international students are facing disparities over the return to university teaching.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 12:00 am
Michelle Almeida.

The government announced that students studying in universities across England would not be permitted to return to their campus earlier than May 17. This rule has generated a conflict in opinions between local and international students who are concerned over the mandatory quarantine rules imposed on those returning towards the end of the semester.

Heather Nicholls aged 19, said: “I feel like this rule has happened as a way to appease people who really wanted in-person teaching because now they cannot say that they did not have the option. It’s an inconvenience, especially for international students as no one wants to just come back for a week.”

The UK introduced red, amber and green list rules for those entering England from overseas.

Sheffield University Firth Court.

Those countries in the red list are subject to mandatory quarantine in government approved accommodation and would need to pay £1,750 for it.

An international student now residing in Dubai, Muskan Chawla, aged 19, said: “It literally makes no sense.

“I’ll be coming to the UK at the end of the semester, quarantine for 10 days, give my exams online and then go back.”

Students have signed petitions demanding a reduction in fees as classes have been conducted online for majority of the year.

Ms Chawla adds: “I don’t think it’s making much difference.”

On the end of the spectrum, home students are ‘fairly happy’ with the decision.

Sam Eyre, who studies politics and history at The University of Sheffield, says: “I’m fairly happy now with the decision. I’ve only known university during the coronavirus epidemic.

“The university experience has been pretty much non-existent which I’m not complaining about as I’m not a big fan of parties, but I’ve had friends who do want that social atmosphere.

“The timing is a bit silly. I’ve only got one lesson after May 17.

"But, at the end of the day, there’s a global pandemic on, and it’s not all going to run perfectly.”