Manchester University engineering students who wanted to study remotely due to Covid-19 have been left fuming after they were told they must be on campus to complete their degrees.
In an email from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE), students were told that it “may not be possible” for them to study remotely as certain “accreditation obligations” required them to be on campus.
But MACE students said this goes against the University’s official position that students won’t be disadvantaged for choosing to do their course remotely.
“It is important that we ensure you graduate from Manchester with a degree that is highlight sought after by employers, and officially recognised by the relevant professional body,” the email to students read.
“These professional bodies have accreditation obligations that require students to be on campus to acquire certain engineering competencies.”
In a MACE group chat seen by The Mancunion, students were left raging following the news, which many blasted as ‘unfair’ and said put a huge question mark over their living arrangements.
One student wrote: “That’s pretty unfair of them to say a month before classes start, [especially] after saying that things would be fully online and we would have a full choice whether to attend things in person. Then again, all they care about is money.”
The University has said that if students have “extenuating circumstances” that prevent them being on campus it will support them through their studies.
One student in the department, who chose to remain anonymous, told The Mancunion: “Lots of people had already made plans to stay based on a survey sent out weeks ago, the group chats are pissed.”
“I want to stay home and have made plans to extend my lease by 6 months with my landlord,” the student added.
In response, Professor Peter Green, Vice Dean Teaching, Learning and Students in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “In order to reduce the amount of face-to-face interaction for safety reasons during the pandemic, we are putting a huge amount of effort into making sure that our students are able to access significant amounts of teaching and learning activity online.
“There are many disciplines in Science and Engineering which are highly valued by employers because they are professionally accredited – this official recognition can be dependent upon our students developing practical and technical skills by completing specific activities that can only be delivered on-campus.
“Should a student have such extenuating circumstances that prevent them from being able to attend on campus, we will, of course, discuss this with them and do whatever we can to support them through their studies.”