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In 2021, there have been more complaints of Covid violations, says the student service Students

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Complaints from university students that the Covid pandemic disrupted their studies have led to more than 1,000 appeals to the Higher Education Inspectorate. England and Wales last year.

The Office of the Independent Judge (OIA) received a record 2,763 appeals from students dissatisfied with the way their complaints were handled by their universities in 2021. More than a thousand of them have been linked to the consequences Campus measures Covidtripled in the first year of the pandemic.

More than one in four appeals was granted or found to be justified. But the number of appeals underestimates the number of individuals involved – the OIA said 16% of complaints of Covid violations were from groups of about 10 to 30 students, including one joint appeal from a group of more than 400 students.

Students in the courses of design, creative and performing arts were among those most directly affected, according to the OIA, raising issues such as access to equipment and studio space or lost opportunities for exhibition work.

“More broadly, student complaints in a variety of subject areas are often related to practical experiences that have been violated by the limitations of Covid-19. Students complained about the lack of access to laboratories, canceled or changed projects, accommodation and study opportunities abroad, ”the OIA’s annual report said on Wednesday.

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In one case described by the OIA, a group of graduate students on a health research course complained about problems with lab work and feedback, frequent schedule changes, and the completion of lab projects during the pandemic closure. The institution offered £ 1,000 each as compensation, but the students turned their case over to the OIA and eventually offered £ 2,500 for a settlement.

The OIA said some complaints were included failures as a result of strikes and industrial activities as well closing the campus during the blockade.

Felicity Mitchell, an independent higher education judge, said that in 2021 the consequences of the pandemic “prevailed”.

“Many students are experienced obstacles in their lives and studiesand suppliers have worked hard to provide training and support, balancing complex considerations and risks, ”Mitchell said.

In total, the OIA participated in the compensation of £ 792,500 and another £ 512,000 in settlement agreements, for a total of £ 1.3 million, well above the total of £ 742,000 in 2020.

The highest individual award for a student was £ 68,000, while 60 students received £ 5,000 or more. In one complaint, a group of students studying medicine on an overseas campus at a British university received £ 24,000 after being convicted by the General Medical Council. The OIA ruled that students were led to believe that teaching and practice would be in English, but in fact the local language was used in clinical counseling.

The OIA considers student appeals only after they have exhausted the internal procedures of their institution and remain dissatisfied with the response.

A spokesman for the National Students’ Union said the record number of complaints was not a surprise: “These statistics will underestimate the number of those who are dissatisfied with their experience – their rejection was shared by thousands of students grievance mechanism ”.

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