If lecturers are going to strike that’s fine, but at least give us our money back
They’re taking away £770 worth of lectures
At the end of February thousands of lecturers are striking because they stand to lose up to £10,000 from their pensions. This will affect students across the UK, with lectures, seminars and office hours cancelled.
Some strikes are expected to go on for four weeks, and we could lose up to a third of our learning this term.
We all want tutors to have the pensions they deserve, but we also want to get the education we're paying for. While staff are striking, we are giving up a massive portion of our tuition fees in the loss of contact time as a result.
Here's the maths: with contact hours at an average of 12 hours per week, for 11 weeks each semester, twice a year, the average hour of contact time costs £32. For £32 I could buy four Nando's meals, or an iPod shuffle and a damn good night out. If these strikes go ahead, we will lose £770 in total.
So are universities going to pay this money back?
What's been a total let down from universities across the country is the lack of information provided regarding the strikes. We have had barely any information, and it's starting to feel we are not considered important enough for our universities to even inform us about a massive movement taking over our campus.
What about all the third years who are mid-way through their dissertation, and their tutor is going to be absent for weeks? What about people who are trying to get a 2:1 or a First, and need the extra help and teaching to get there? There is no word on what this will mean for assessment or final exams, and whether the content which should've been taught during the strikes will still be included in the papers.
We've also had no word yet on what it means for students who might want to support the strikes, meanwhile University of Edinburgh has stated that those who support the strike should work from home, not use the library – how democratic.
Lectures go beyond teaching to provide structure and organisation to people's weeks. Those who struggle to stay motivated rely on weekly tutorials to test them and allow them to reflect on the things they've read that week.
It's not just about the loss of money, but about the loss of time. I understand why 90 per cent of staff who are involved voted to strike. It's justified in the face of losing thousands of pounds in their pension packets, but for it to affect thousands of students is unacceptable.
So if the university is going to disregard our opinions, our time and our part in the campus community, they can at least give us our money back.