Russell Group chief exec says Zoom uni is ‘different but not second best’

I think maybe he means it’s seventh or even eighth best?

The chief executive of the Russell Group has insisted “different does not mean second best” for students.

In a letter to the Guardian defending the teaching students have received, Dr Tim Bradshaw argues that “it is wrong to suggest that universities have not put the interests of students at the heart of their response to the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, students are reporting that the “different” experience is amounting to a grand total of one contact hour since March 2020.

Of course, an admission that teaching had not been up to scratch would open the door to financially perilous fee refunds for the Russell Group’s member institutions.

In a whirlwind month for the Russell Group’s reputation, it also released a blanket statement saying no detriment policies were not “necessary” or “appropriate”. This came as a relief to the tens of students concerned about the academic integrity of their degrees.

Acknowledging the return of students to campus in September caused a rise in Covid cases, Bradshaw says case numbers fell “thanks to the steps taken by universities in partnership with local health authorities – with support from students themselves,” conveniently ignoring any role the steps taken by universities may have had in the increase.

Bradshaw also said: “From the start, Russell Group universities have worked hard to provide the best possible experience for students.” Perhaps this is the problem – the best in the circumstances is still far short of what was on offer pre-pandemic, for the same price.

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