Students staying away from the classroom, survey finds.
Student attendance and in-class participation remain at far lower levels than before the pandemic, according to a global survey by the Times Higher Education (THE).
Three-quarters (76%) of respondents say they have seen lower numbers of students turning up to lectures despite the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, while only 4% say attendance is now higher.
And 54% of respondents said in-class engagement is worse than before the pandemic, with only 9% noting an improvement.
Asked about the typical level of attendance at in-person lectures, 29% of respondents said between 41%–60% of students turn up, while 26% put attendance at 21%–39%. This compares with pre-pandemic levels of above 60% for more than two-thirds of respondents.
Students not wanting to come to campus was cited as the main reason why attendance and participation was lower, but the number of students undertaking paid work, experiencing mental health issues or failing to do enough preparation were also cited as significant factors.
The report said: “Some suggested making attendance compulsory and reducing access to online recordings as ways to overcome the problems, but others highlight that most current students had never attended a lecture, and do not know the benefits of doing so.
“Another respondent, a UK-based business lecturer, agreed that the rising cost of living and tuition fees had forced students to work part-time more often and more extensively, leaving no time for them to attend or prepare for classes.
“She also felt that the online delivery of lectures had ‘created the impression that classes are like a movie – you watch it live or on-demand and are not supposed to actively engage’.
“Several respondents said the experience of being in class should be made superior to watching the recording, with more of a focus on engagement and participation using question and answer sessions and group discussion.”
• THE’s survey received 339 responses, most of whom were based in the UK.