Abertay University has come under fire for not introducing a “no detriment” policy during the coronavirus outbreak.
Students are expected to complete their assessments and exams as normal, and has said it will not introduce the policy, which would ensure students’ grades are not negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Other universities, such as Dundee, have introduced such policies, and more than 800 people have signed a petition calling on Abertay exams to be cancelled.
One student told the Tele: “At this point I believe that a ‘no detriment’ policy seems like the fairest solution for the university to take, it allows those with the ability and resources to complete work to achieve the grades they want but means that those seriously affected by the virus won’t fail due to circumstances out of their control.
“Dundee University has also now added this policy so the fact that Abertay is still yet to bring this in is baffling.”
A further student said: “The university has been suggesting that if we cannot do the work we can defer the work for now. This is not a viable option.
“This option is not fair and blanket decision needs to be made which still has not happened.”
Professor Nigel Seaton, principal of Abertay University, said cancelling exams would disadvantage students, and added they all have the option to defer assessments or take up extensions on their coursework deadlines.
He said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students is the university’s number one priority and we have introduced a series of measures to tackle stress and concern around assessments and exams.
“We have removed or modified all exams where possible and just 9% of assessments will now be carried out as exams this term, with these taking place online.
“The majority of these are linked to professional qualifications from accrediting bodies, meaning it would disadvantage students to remove them.
“All students can defer any exams or assessments to the end of June with no questions asked.
“All students can also take up a 10 day extension on their assessments at any time should they wish to do so.
“Research released today [Tuesday, April 7] by the Higher Education Policy Institute shows that the majority of UK university students want their exams and assessments to continue online rather than having them cancelled.
“Many Scottish universities, including all modern universities like Abertay, are continuing with assessments to some extent, with many adapting exams and/or scaling them back as we have.
“Our support inquiry zone is fully operational, providing a gateway to counselling, mental health support, career guidance, financial advice, academic support and much more.
“We have funding available for students in hardship or those who may need equipment, and have already purchased 30 new devices for students who need them.
“We recognise that this is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ scenario and will continue to listen to the support needs of our students.”
Meanwhile, Professor Blair Grubb, vice-principal of Dundee University, said: “We always operate a ‘no detriment’ approach to any study disruption to ensure that students achieve the correct degree outcome and are in no way disadvantaged as a result of the circumstances that impact the whole institution.
“The Covid-19 outbreak will have caused disruption to studies in various ways and now requires [students] to study and prepare assessments in a different way.
“We will take this into account when we consider your results and award your degrees.”
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