Cambridge University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in this world. Thousands of students enter their campus to imbibe good knowledge and innovate. Sadly, the lectures at Cambridge University are the newest casualty of the Coronavirus pandemic. There will be no lectures at Cambridge University till 2021. The university authorities have announced that no face-to-face lectures will be held on its campus till 2021. This move has been made keeping in mind the safety of the students who come to study at the university. This is one of the most drastic measures that any prestigious university in the world has taken.
Status Quo to be maintained
Graham Virgo, who is the senior pro-vice-chancellor at Cambridge University, issued a statement. He said that in-person delivery of all mass lectures stands suspended. There is a need to practice social distancing now and in the future. In mass lectures, social distancing is not possible. Hence, they will not conduct lectures involving any physical presence for the entire 2020-2021 academic year. He issued this statement on May 20 confirming that the classrooms will be empty for a whole year.
The university maybe 800 years old but it was quick to adopt modern methods of teaching. After a spike in COVID-19 cases within the United Kingdom, the university shifted all its classes online. Hence, all classes will continue through the online mode for the 2020-2021 academic year. Virgo said that this enabled the university to free up space within its premises. This would allow the university to focus on practicals, lab work, and teaching in small groups. He also said that the lectures are just a small part of the comprehensive education that Cambridge University offers. Tutorials and teaching in small groups are what Cambridge focuses on for most subjects. This is to provide quality education which mass lectures seldom fail to do.
Problems faced by Universities
Universities around the world are struggling to figure out how to reopen or how to provide education to their students. The education of students has already suffered a lot due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The moves made by Cambridge University are an embodiment of what other universities are doing as well. A lot of them are trying to move their classes online and hold limited activities on campus.
The California State University also has said that its fall semester classes will be online. The University of Arizona, however, plans to resume classes on its campus. Harvard Medical School will hold classes for its first-year students online from next fall. McGill University in Canada will move most of its classes online as well.
All educational institutions are expecting significant monetary losses. The University of Michigan expects to lose anywhere between 400 million dollars to 1 billion dollars. The University of Colorado-Boulder anticipates that it will lose 67 million dollars.
There is no substitute for in-person learning but these are peculiar times when it needs to be limited. All universities must carefully weigh the pros and cons of reopening their campuses before making a call. All this needs to be done while keeping safety in mind.