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Universities: Remote Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 151236, tabled on 31 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with how many Vice Chancellors he had had discussions on the provision of online teaching as of February 2020.

Answered on

22 April 2022

Since his appointment in 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has regularly engaged with university Vice-Chancellors, higher education (HE) representative and mission groups, leading academics, and others who are active in the sector.

These conversations have covered a wide range of HE sector issues. Although it is not possible to precisely quantify those discussions which have covered online teaching, the Secretary of State has made very clear his view that students must be able to expect high-quality teaching. This includes face-to-face teaching. I have been speaking with a number of university Vice-Chancellors to ensure they are offering students the amount of in-person teaching they should expect.

The government has removed all restrictions on in-person teaching. This means providers are able to offer the full face-to-face teaching experience that they were offering before the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual learning is a fantastic innovation that can be used to complement and enhance a student’s learning experience, not detract from it. It should not be used as a cost-cutting exercise.

The Office for Students (OfS) has recently launched a review of blended learning. The review will examine blended methods of course delivery and consider which approaches represent high-quality teaching and learning, as well as which approaches fall short of the OfS' regulatory requirements.