Student News

Lectures until 9pm for some students causes outrage

It's an attempt to cope with the rising student numbers, but is your university among those planning to run lectures late into the evening?

uni plans late lectures

Credit (background): Hope For Gorilla - Flickr

Students at some UK universities have had their excitement for the new term dampened by the news that lectures could soon be clashing with pre-drinks.

In an effort to accommodate the growing student population, a handful of unis are set to extend teaching hours to as late as 9pm.

The news comes just weeks after Durham University was forced to cancel plans for 8am lectures, following widespread criticism from students and lecturers alike.

Why are there so many students?

uk student numbers

In 2015 the government lifted the cap on the number of students that a university can admit. That year alone, 235,000 18 year olds started uni - a record figure at the time, but one which continued to rise to over 241,000 in 2017.

Although the number of 18 year olds in the country is decreasing, universities are making a concerted effort to take advantage of the removal of the student cap.

For instance, this year the number of unconditional offers given to applicants has risen drastically. 23% (about 58,000) of this year's cohort received at least one unconditional offer, compared to 13% in 2016 and just 1% (about 2,500) in 2013.

Critics have argued that by lifting the student cap and handing out so many unconditional offers, a place at university will lose some of its value, and that students won't work as hard for their A Levels.

Whether that's true or not remains to be seen, but it's evident from universities' plans to extend teaching hours that the system is struggling to cope with the sheer volume of students.

Which universities are running evening lectures?

university evening lectures

Credit: Walt Disney

English students at King's College London (KCL) looking ahead to see their timetable for the upcoming year were dismayed to find that some lectures would run late into the evening (although, let's face it - that's not even the evening anymore, it's the night).

But it's not just English students at KCL who will be affected. A Twitter poll by Mohamed Salhi, KCL SU's Vice President for Education, found that students from across the university's Arts and Science faculties are facing lectures that would end as late as 8.30-9pm.

We wish we could tell you that the problem ends there, but sadly, no - other universities are in on it too. The University of East Anglia and Brunel University have already been running evening classes that run until 8pm.

Will the evening lectures go ahead?

student protest

As you'd expect, the move to extend teaching hours to 9pm hasn't gone down well. Several students at KCL have complained to Mohamed Salhi, who has since raised their concerns with the university's Provost for Arts and Sciences.

Mohamed tweeted:

[the Provost] was equally concerned; teaching should end at 7pm at the latest and has said she will investigate this to find out why lectures have come beyond this time.

After the public outcry and subsequent u-turn that followed Durham's plans to start lectures at 8am, we wouldn't be surprised if KCL's attempts to extend teaching hours at the other end of the day never come to fruition.

However, with the student population continuing to grow and lecture theatres only able to hold a finite number of people, it's clear that something's got to give. Watch this space!

What do you think about the plans to run lectures until 9pm? Let us know in the comments!

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