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Students praise University of the Highlands and Islands response to Covid crisis


By Calum MacLeod

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UHI students have given a positive reception to the university's Covid response.
UHI students have given a positive reception to the university's Covid response.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has been rated positively for its response to Covid-19 in a UK-wide survey of students.

The National Student Survey found that the university performed significantly above average in both the Scottish and UK sector in all questions relating to Covid. Students were asked about the delivery of courses, physical safety, mental health support, access to learning resources and course information.

The data showed that:

88 per cent of University of the Highlands and Islands respondents agreed they were able to access the resources they needed for their course during the pandemic, compared to 78 per cent of respondents at other UK universities

88 per cent of University of the Highlands and Islands respondents agreed the university had taken steps to protect their physical safety, compared to 80 per cent of respondents at other UK universities

84 per cent of University of the Highlands and Islands respondents said they had received useful information about changes to their course, compared to 73 per cent of respondents at other UK universities

University of the Highlands and Islands students were also more likely to have been satisfied with the steps taken to support their mental wellbeing during the pandemic.

Conducted annually by Ipsos MORI, the National Student Survey is a UK-wide survey of final year undergraduate students. This year, the survey included Covid-specific questions, alongside more general questions on the student experience.

Students also rated the University of the Highlands and Islands highly for teaching, learning opportunities and assessment and feedback.

Inverness College UHI.
Inverness College UHI.

Dr Iain Morrison, the university's dean of students said: "These results from the largest annual survey of UK students provide objective evidence that our distinctive and inclusive model of delivery, using world-class technology and hard-working staff committed to our students' education and wellbeing, has served them well during the pandemic. Our staff admirably rose to the challenge of delivering top-quality learning and teaching, communicating changes and investing in laptops and additional mental health and wellbeing resources to support the needs of our students.

"Our priority has been to provide a safe learning, research and working environment for all staff and students while also protecting our local communities. These high ratings from our students show that we have the expertise, knowledge and practical skills to enhance the delivery of our courses, while still adhering and adapting to changing government guidelines, and are testimony to a job well done by our magnificent staff."

Flo Jansen, president of the Highlands and Islands Students' Association, commented: "HISA is delighted to see the positive results of the National Student Survey. It's reassuring to hear that the majority of our students have felt prioritised over the past year and encouraging to know that our strong working relationship with the university has enabled us to support our students through the pandemic, while maintaining our standards of learning and teaching.

"The past year hasn't been easy, but the bonds between our staff and students have undoubtedly benefited our approach and have helped us to identify challenges sooner rather than later. We could not be prouder of what they have achieved."

The results of the 2021 National Student Survey can be viewed at www.officeforstudents.org.uk


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