End of term tumbleweeds: where are all the students?

This September there are going to be a whole lot of disappointed people who will be missing out on a university education. Cuts in funding, combined with an ever greater demand for higher education, is making the competition for a university place fierce.


There has been a reported rise in 63% of mature students. Photo: Mike Hodges

Yet my own experiences this week would indicate that many of my fellow first-year students are oblivious to this serious situation. And unaware of just how fortunate they are to be at university.

This week, the final week before the Easter holiday, has seen a dramatic fall in attendance at my lectures and seminars. I’d say that most of them have attracted less than 40% of the expected attendees. Why? Well, the most common explanation is that it’s coming up to the Easter holiday.

Apparently, many of my fellow students feel that this impending period of festivities is a licence to skip the educational part of the curriculum and head off early to their loved ones.

Is this the level of commitment we should expect from those who have had the superlative good fortune to be at university?

Well, next September we might be seeing an intake who are a little more motivated. Yes, the mature students are coming. With a reported rise of 63% in applications made by mature students it’s a good bet that the over 25s are going to be a growing group at every university campus across the UK. Who knows? The mature students might even bring something positive to the academic melting pot of this university.

Anything would be better than half-empty lecture theatres and seminar rooms where the tumbleweeds outnumber the students.

 

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