Universities passed pandemic test, but students suffered from lack of contact, massive survey finds

Research shows traineeships and practical education suffered during Covid-19 crisis.

Halls of universities remained empty after the Covid pandemic broke out in Slovakia.Halls of universities remained empty after the Covid pandemic broke out in Slovakia. (Source: TASR)

Like thousands of other university students, Marianna Príkazská’s life changed dramatically in March 2020.

“Student life during the pandemic was very different to what we had been used to,” Príkazská, who is studying ecology at Comenius University in Bratislava, told The Slovak Spectator.

As the first cases of Covid-19 emerged in the country, primary and secondary schools as well as universities closed and students had to get used to a new normal of online classes and very little, if any, on-campus university life.

While Príkazská is full of praise for the efforts her teachers made with distance learning – describing how they tried to make lectures interesting using videos or unusual ways of illustrating subjects – she keenly felt a lack of personal contact with both her classmates and teachers.

Príkazská’s experience was a common one, as the results of the first survey of its kind of university students in Slovakia have shown.

Universities coped well, but shortcomings evident

The “Quarter to Quality Education” survey carried out between late April and late May 2021 by the Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (SAAHE) asked nearly 20,000 university students about their experiences during the pandemic.

In the poll, 79 percent of respondents said their educational institutions had handled their studies well during the pandemic.

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