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Archive for the 'Further higher and lifelong education' Category

Universities: learning outside the lecture hall

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 September 2021

Allison Littlejohn.

Lockdown led to the largest transformation of teaching in the history of UK higher education. In March 2020, the entire university workforce had to transition to working online. This was remarkable transformation for institutions that, founded on tradition and convention, tend to be slow to change.  As the 2021-22 academic year begins, record numbers of UK students are about to enter our universities once again.

National reports suggest that both students and staff found the lack of face-to-face learning and social interactions over the past year or so difficult. Enforced isolation during lockdown had an impact on student mental health, while students’ representatives have run campaigns questioning the value of online education under lockdown conditions and called for a refund on student fees. They have been arguing for a return to face-to-face lectures and on-campus social activities.

As for staff, our study of the experiences of university staff as they moved to online teaching during lockdown found that academics, especially those with little prior experience of digital education, had to invest considerable extra time redesigning courses, recording lectures and connecting with students to provide (more…)

We’re in the same storm but not the same boat’: lessons for the future from our FE Rapid Evidence Review

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 September 2021

Ken Spours and Paul Grainger.

‘There will be a K-shaped recovery with winners and losers: we are all in the same storm but not in the same boat.’ (FE college leader)

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event in the globalised world. In terms of a health emergency, there has been nothing on this scale since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919 – and we now live in a much more connected world, of course, that is also experiencing an even greater threat from the climate emergency.

The pandemic bears all the symptoms of a wicked problem, due to our incomplete knowledge of its effects and interdependencies as it impacts on a vulnerable Further Education (FE) sector. The UK’s FE colleges include provision for the more deprived sections of the community, and specialise in preparing young people for working life. Both aspects have (more…)

Covid-19: how youth unemployment is taking on worrying new patterns

Blog Editor, IOE Digital5 August 2021

Hans Dietrich, Golo Henseke, Juliane Achatz, Silke Anger, Bernhard Christoph, Alexander Patzina.

Despite economic and institutional differences between the two countries, youth unemployment figures in both the UK and Germany rose during the Covid-19 pandemic and reached a peak in August 2020. Since then, they have generally gone down in both countries. Three aspects are important in this regard: the total number of unemployed youth, the pattern of how young people enter into unemployment, and the length of time they remain unemployed. Our new analysis shows that not only have more young people lost their jobs, they have also spent more time out of work. Despite these similar patterns, youth unemployment in the UK has remained consistently higher than in Germany.

This two-country analysis is part of a broader European perspective.

The development of youth unemployment during the Covid-19 pandemic

After the 2008 recession, the number of young unemployed in the European Union and most member states fell from 2013 to 2019. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic (more…)

Ready for work? UK youth ambitious but uncertain about their future careers

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 July 2021

Ingrid Schoon, Golo Henseke.

What are the career expectations of young people aged 16-25 in the current climate of economic uncertainty – and how do schools prepare them for the transition into the labour market in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic? These questions are examined in a new report out today (July 21). The report is part of a large-scale project to track youth employment, learning, career development and wellbeing during the pandemic in the UK and abroad.

Career expectations

Based on data collected in March and again in May 2021 from a representative sample of 1,542 16 to 25-year-olds in Britain we find that young people have ambitious educational and occupational goals, although there are high levels of uncertainty about future careers.

Young people who had formal career preparation, such as (more…)

Covid-19 and young people: we need to talk about job skills

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 July 2021

Golo Henseke, Ingrid Schoon.

Today is World Youth Skills Day and this year it’s more important than ever.

From the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, young people’s prospects worsened significantly across many areas of their lives. Alongside challenges to wellbeing, young people were confronted with lost learning at school, colleges and universities, heightened labour market uncertainty, and a potential decline in internships and work experience placements.

While lost learning at primary and secondary level received significant attention, the impact of lost job skills learning and career preparation for young people has been largely missing from the conversation.

In a new report, which will be out on July 21, we shed light on young people’s career readiness and how it might affect their behaviour as they begin navigating an uncertain labour market. The report is part of a large-scale project to track youth employment, (more…)

How better education for health professionals can help curb antimicrobial resistance in poorer countries and save lives

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 June 2021

Three unfocused overlapping petri dishes containing bacteria seen through a microscopeAllison Littlejohn.

While the world’s attention is focused on Covid-19, many other serious international health concerns still need urgent attention. Few public health problems are of greater global importance today than Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

In 2019 the UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on AMR warned that, if no action is taken, drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million additional deaths each year by 2050 and cause catastrophic damage to the global economy, forcing up to 24 million people into extreme poverty.

Over the past three years I have been the Academic Director of the ‘Tackling AntiMicrobial Resistance’, a project aimed at reducing AMR in low and middle income countries by improving healthcare practice in the use and monitoring of antibiotics. Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (more…)

‘I’m okay, just scanning proof that my leg is still amputated’: how can academia become less ableist?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital26 May 2021

geralt / Pixabay

Nicole Brown.

If the pandemic has taught us all one thing, it is that disabilities come in many forms. Covid-19 has meant that personal experiences of mental health issues, long-term fatigue and persistent pain have become more prevalent.

Although awareness of the difficulties that disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent staff and students face in academia has increased over the past few years, few attempts have been made to share, theorise and learn from these experiences. My new books Ableism in Academia: Theorising experiences of disabilities and chronic illnesses in higher education and Lived Experiences of Ableism in Academia: Strategies for inclusion in higher education do just that.

Unfortunately, the reality of being disabled, chronically ill and/or neurodivergent in academia means that many highly talented individuals drop out. This is because the structures of academia are built on the productivity, efficiency and (more…)

Open book exams: open season for cheaters or a better form of assessment?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital19 May 2021

Gwyneth Hughes.

The start of the pandemic in March 2020 caused universities to do a rapid pivot from the well-entrenched invigilated, timed, unseen exams to online tests mostly taken at home.

Software can monitor students taking exams in their own homes by using video or proctoring methods, or by locking down the examinee’s computer. But by far the most straightforward option is open book exams with extended timescales. This is mostly what happened at the University of London. But does this mean better assessment or more cheating?

For an open-book exam, students can search online and access books, notes, and other available resources online or in print. If the exam writing window remains (more…)

Filling a youth-shaped gap in the FE White Paper: Reducing inequalities in post-16 progression

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 February 2021

FE White Paper: boost for status of colleges needs proper funding to make it fly

Blog Editor, IOE Digital25 January 2021

Andy Green.

The much-delayed Government White Paper on skills (Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunities and Growth), published last Thursday, holds few surprises; it has already been widely trailed in Government announcements and reforms over the past year. What is most notable, though – and very welcome –  is its unusually strong statements about the centrality of Further Education Colleges to the Government’s skills agenda in post-Brexit Britain, arguably a distinctive contribution from the current Secretary of State for Education.

In his strategic speech to the Social Market Foundation last June, Gavin Williamson positioned himself as the champion of Further Education and the ‘forgotten 50 percent’ who do not go to university. He promised to be the Secretary of State who would finally ensure that technical education in Britain achieved the prominence and status it deserved.

His rationale is widely shared: that ‘building back’ after the pandemic will require a sustained focus on addressing the shortages in higher technical skills which have been growing in recent years and will be amplified by Brexit. FE colleges can be – and should be – central to this endeavour, he says, and (more…)