Masaryk Students Praise University’s Approach Through Stressful Lockdown Period, According to Survey

A third of students at Masaryk University (MUNI) reported feelings of depression during the lockdown, rising to over a half for bachelor’s students. However, they nonetheless appreciated the university’s response to the unusual circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, even though a majority felt that online learning cannot replace in-person tuition. Photo: Masaryk University Faculty of Social Studies / Courtesy of Masaryk University archive.

Brno, Aug 18 (BD) – According to research conducted by the University of Antwerp, students at Masaryk University (MUNI) understandably found the period of lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic stressful. However, they also praised the university for its proactive approach in switching to online tuition, and for keeping them informed of developments.

The Spring semester at MUNI was marked by disruption related to the nationwide state of emergency, as the government moved to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The university moved its teaching online and 43% of students returned home to stay with their parents. The isolation meant that the average number of hours of self-study rose from 13 to 23 hours per week, plus six hours a week of online teaching. For students, this extraordinary situation was difficult to deal with; one third of respondents reported feelings of depression, rising to 59% for bachelor’s students.

However, respondents to the survey positively evaluated the dedication of their teachers during this period, and their willingness to communicate with them in more personal forms than usual, such as telephone consultations. 80% also agreed that they felt sufficiently informed about any changes to the university’s operations, and were satisfied with the way the protective measures were implemented. 

Nonetheless, according to separate surveys conducted by MUNI’s Faculty of Social Studies, the Faculty of Economics and Administration and the Faculty of Arts, most students believe that online learning is no substitute for in-person teaching; they felt the lack of face-to-face seminars and tutorials, and found it difficult to summon the same motivation to learn from home.

MUNI was one of seven Czech universities participating in the COVID-19 International Student Well-being Study by the University of Antwerp, which examined how the pandemic affected living conditions, studies, health and the overall experiences of university students.

Martin Bareš, rector of MUNI, said the university would “take into account the findings from all surveys conducted internationally and by the university in preparing measures and alternative solutions for the coming semester.” The beginning of the new study year has been postponed until October 5th due to the epidemiological situation.

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