Government defends students return to university

Government defends students return to university

Government defends students return to university

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has defended the return of students to university campus’ after a union labelled it ‘shambolic’.

This comes just a few weeks after Health Secretary Matt Hancock blamed young people for a rapid increase in coronavirus cases.

The decision to allow students to return has seen hundreds of students forced to isolate in university accommodation, and paying tuition fees despite being unable to attend classes.

Many within the Labour party have called on the government to halt the return.

Multiple unions also raised concerns that the mass return of students would see institutions become coronavirus hotspots, but it would appear that these warnings went unheeded.

But, speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Mr Dowden said it was important students did not “give up a year of their life” by not going.

“Young people have paid a huge price during this crisis and I think it is only fair to try and get them back – we have got clear guidelines for them to follow,” he added.

Many students have questioned why they were told to return to their university accommodation when most of their teaching is being done remotely, and why they are still required to pay full tuition fees without any access to facilities.

Mr Dowden responded that although the experience is “not as it would be” due to the crisis, students should still pay full tuition fees as they were still being taught.

In the most recent update, the government has refused to guarantee that university students would be permitted to return home for Christmas if their universities fall within local lockdown areas.

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