PANEL: The pandemic and the future of university education

The education offered by universities across the world has undergone sudden and dramatic changes in response to COVID-19. Teaching has been shifted online, forms of assessment have been changed, and students are mainly studying away from their higher education institutions. However, it is not clear what the long-term impacts on university education will be. To what extent will the approaches to university education that have emerged in response to the pandemic lead to lasting changes? What is the likely impact of these changes on the dominant forms of university education that will see in the future? Will these changes support the ability of university education to transform the life chances of all students or will they lead to the reinforcement of existing inequalities?

The webinar addresses two critical areas related to university education and the COVID-19 pandemic:

(1) COVID-19 and the education offered by universities: How will degree programmes change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? What will be the long term impact on university teachers and universities as institutions engaged in making knowledge accessible to students and society?

(2) COVID-19 and students’ experiences of studying at university: What will be the long-term impacts on students’ experiences of university education? Will the pandemic lead to greater access to forms of higher education? Or will it lead to greater structuring of access to higher education, with the privileged and the poor being offered access to very different versions of a university education?

The webinar brings together a panel of leading international experts on the education provided by universities from the UK, the United States and South Africa.