Norwegian students had a tough spring due to coronavirus, survey shows

Coronavirus testingPhoto: Eivind Senneset / NTB
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The reports on how things went for students during the coronavirus crisis this spring are finally being published.

Among vocational school students, one in four students answers that it was difficult to continue with their education.

As many as three out of four campus students believe they got lower learning outcomes than they would in a normal situation.

A total of 7,000 out of the country’s 17,000 vocational students responded to the national survey conducted this spring by NOKUT, the National Agency for Quality in Education.

In total, there are 67 vocational schools in Norway.

“It is worrying that so many campus students answer that they did not learn what they were supposed to,” director Kristin Vinje at NOKUT pointed out.

Satisfied by crisis management

She emphasized that most students were satisfied with how the vocational schools solved the crisis.

She added that she was impressed to see so many vocational school students who got through the spring.

The government’s strict infection measures affected nearly 300,000 students when vocational schools, universities, and colleges were closed on March 12.

The students were sent home or to dormitories to study.

Many had to do so alone.

A large proportion of students in higher education believe that they had poorer learning outcomes due to the coronavirus crisis.

In a survey conducted at the University of Agder, 91% answered that they had a lower learning outcome.

“This survey was conducted in May. We hope that we now have other prerequisites in place for meeting the needs of students in a better way if we shut down again,” Inger Marie Dalehefte, associate professor and head of the department of pedagogy at the University of Agder (UiA), noted.

Asheim worried

So far, there is no overview of how many actually dropped out of their studies.

Still, Minister of Research and Higher Education Henrik Asheim (H) believes the survey of vocational school students gives cause for concern.

“It’s extra important that vocational schools work to follow up with their students this fall. Especially if more local outbreaks lead to more digital classes,” he said when NOKUT presented the most recent report for vocational school students on Thursday.

The new autumn semester is now well underway at all universities and colleges.

While attempts were made to make the start of the semester as normal as possible for new students, the corona infection spread among both students and staff.

The Norwegian School of Management in Bergen (NHH) was among the educational institutions that were quickly closed again at the end of August.

All physical education and lectures were canceled.

Missing social interaction

At the same time, the Faculty of Education at the University of Oslo published several studies made by a group of researchers at the seminar “The Corona Generation.”

Experience so far shows that digital classes alone make it more difficult to identify challenges among students.

“We must make sure that the students get a good connection to the educational institution. That they feel a sense of belonging. In the survey, we see that students especially missed the social and academic exchange with other students. Therefore, we must think of new forms of collaboration that take care of this,” Dalehefte noted.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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