Education & Family
by Aspect County

Opportunities for students Amid the Covid-19 crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on students nationwide. Yet, whilst many parents and guardians fear for the instability of the future for their child, COVID-19 has ultimately presented opportunities for students that would otherwise have been unavailable.

For me, a Year 13 student, just weeks away from sitting my first A Level papers at Battle Abbey School, it was fair to say, stress levels were high. With the pandemic at the forefront, myself, fellow sixth formers and teachers were speculating the implications it would have on our exams, as well as the abrupt end to two years of education. Despite the cancellation of our exams Battle Abbey School managed to keep us connected, sharp and engaged. 

The Pre‑U Programme was an initiative devised by the school to prepare their students for university. Just a few of the courses on offer included Student Finance, History of Art, Philosophy and Economics, English Literature and Society. It kept me busy amid the endless time I had before starting my course in September. When I was at my lowest ebb, it invigored me, enthusing me to embrace the journey of independence that university promised.

My University – The Courtauld Institute of Art in London – introduced a series of online webinars to reach out to undergraduates starting in September. They launched a Courtauld Open Hour’, a series of lectures designed to educate us on Art History. Access to these courses gave me insight into the style of teaching, and the essential format my education would take in the foreseeable future. The Sensory experience in Islamic Art’ was a fascinating fusion, uncovering how a piece of artworks textural and audial quality was equally as important as its physical façade. It was a genre of Art History I doubt I’d have been aware of, had it not been for the early closure of schools.

As many of the art centres were closed, students were given access to a new-fangled online walk-through of exhibitions and museums. This was a revolutionary way of accessing and engaging with art I’d not seen before – and I could do this at my leisure. Even production houses like Glyndebourne Opera House and National Theatre were broadcasting performances, which reignited my passion for music and production.

I am fearful of how the coronavirus may affect my time at university, limiting access to libraries and galleries, as well as my predictions of how this world pandemic will affect freedom of movement for the future, but I do believe universities are making the necessary adjustments to ensure students of 2020 receive adapted courses. Instead of lecture halls, my university is proposing face-to-face encounters with gallery painting, and outdoor-based study, where we discuss the most prominent architectural and structural designs around London. These measures make me confident that whilst we’re not be getting the course as advertised, we are instead getting something truly unique. We will be the structed products of the COVID generation – and this makes me optimistic. 

Whilst we may miss out on the ceremonious Leavers Service, which usually occurs during the summer, I’m eager to see how universities and schools will adapt and provide students with new formats of educational. If there is one thing I have been reflecting on during lockdown, it is that everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end. 

Written by Kitty Atherton

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