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Some students will finish lectures well into the evening

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Several universities are extending teaching hours to as late as 9 pm to cope with the high volume of students on each course.  

The University of East Anglia and Brunnel already hold evening classes which run until 8 pm while English students at King's College London were shocked to find lecture hours finishing at 9 pm on their timetable.

Mohamed Salhi, KCLSU's Vice President for Education raised concerns after he received several complaints from students regarding their 8:30 - 9 pm finishes. 

According to his Twitter poll, 96 voted to in agreement with the concerns raised - suggesting that the timetabling issues were affecting students from both the Sciences and Arts faculties.

The university's Vice President of College, Professor Evelyn Welch allegedly agreed that teaching 'should end at 7 pm the latest.' However, it has not yet been confirmed whether this is due to a timetabling oversight or mistake. 

TNS has been informed by KCLSU that the timetabling issue is due to students viewing their timetables on their phones while they're abroad and this messes with the time setting. 

Recently, the SU at Lancaster university released a statement challenging the university's proposal to extend teaching hours to 7 pm everyday except for Wednesdays. They have also published a table of the modules affected by the proposal.

The union criticised the move, saying that the proposal would have a negative impact on student commuters, those that 'rely on paid employment to support their studies' as well as students with 'caring responsibilities.' 

Yet, many of these universities have unveiled ambitious expansion schemes, specifically the University of Lancaster who want to increase their current student population of 12,000 to 17,000 students at the Bailrigg campus by 2025.

In order to cater for the growing population, Lancaster is proposing to hold evening classes.

Durham University also published its plans to expand its student body 'to a maximum of 21,500' by 2027. Currently, there are approximately 17,505 students at Durham. 

Unlike the other universities, Durham initially proposed to introduce early starts for law and business undergraduates - meaning that classes would begin at 8 am. However, the plan was scrapped following backlash from both students and staff. 

In 2015, the ban on student number control was lifted, allowing English universities to take on as many students as they saw fit.

In that year, there were 235,000 18-year-olds alone accepted onto undergraduate courses, the highest number ever recorded.

These expansion plans along with increasing tuition fees and the recent UCU strikes further paint universities as business corporations.

The inability to allocate the high student volume within the existing timetable affects the quality of education that students receive - often students are being taught in bigger class sizes. The fact that universities are trying to increase their intake rather than focusing their resources on providing the best value of education suggests financial motivation. 

This year, universities have been criticised for giving nearly a quarter of this year’s applicants unconditional offers – reducing their rarity and subsequent value, merely as an incentive to increase student numbers. 

We spoke to Southampton student Becca Barnes, who began her English degree in 2015 - the same year that the ban on student number control was lifted. 

Becca, University of Southampton 

We were under the impression that our year group was abnormally huge. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen as many students accepted on our course since.

"With so many people, it meant that modules were extremely competitive, and people often found themselves stuck doing modules they didn’t want to do because of the sheer demand for the modules they actually wanted to take.

"Every year, the day we chose our options was a literal nightmare. There were too many students desperately trying to claim what they wanted; so, the system would crash.

"Our class sizes were also surprisingly large, considering our course and lectures were even worse.

"What struck me most was the fact that we never heard about these problems happening in the year groups above and below us, nor did they seem as large as ours.

"It felt as though the university had jumped at the chance to make more money by accepting more students than usual and had only learned their mistake after us.”

Contact news.editor@thenationalstudent if you have late teaching hours

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