23 of the 24 Russell Group Universities are offering ‘blended’ learning this termIAEA Imagebank/Flickr

Nadhim Zahawi has said that there are “no excuses” for universities to abandon face-to-face teaching, after a number of universities have announced that teaching will be moved online next term.

The Education Secretary told the Sunday Times that students paying £9,250 a year in tuition fees should receive in-person teaching, and that universities should follow the example set by primary and secondary schools.

He said: “They are doing it in primary and secondary schools and in colleges. I expect universities to do the same thing, otherwise explain why not.”

“There are no excuses, we are all in this together,” 

He went on to suggest that students should complain to the Office for Students, if they “feel they are not getting value for money.”

This comes after 23 of the 24 Russell Group universities, including the University of Cambridge, decided to offer “blended” learning this term. 

Durham University has announced that it will move almost all of its teaching online in the first week of term, whilst Queen’s University Belfast will hold most lectures online in January.

Last July, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Graham Virgo announced that Cambridge University would provide as much in-person teaching as possible in the 2021-22 academic year. 

Faculties were given autonomy over how much teaching would take place in person. This was largely based on the cohort size for each subject or lecture series.


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Whilst many departments offered in-person lectures, others subjects, including Economics, Engineering and Land Economy, decided to hold all their lectures online. 

Following an open letter written by students demanding in-person teaching, the Department of Land Economy committed to in-person lectures for Lent Term.

Covid cases in Cambridge have been on the rise. 1,649 positive cases were recorded last week - an increase of 103 (6.7%) compared to the previous week.

In an email sent on Friday (7/1), the University encouraged students to get their booster jabs to protect them from the virus and limit its spread. Students were also told to take lateral flow tests 3-4 days before returning to Cambridge, on the day of their return, and before attending events.