UK students: understretched or just efficient?

UK students spending less time studying than elsewhere in Europe

A new HEPI report on a survey of 15,000 students finds that they averaged 26 hours of class contact and private learning.

The BBC coverage provides a helpful list of findings:

    Vice-chancellors’ group Universities UK said length of study provided no information about degree quality.

    The think tank’s survey found that students were offered 14.2 hours of teaching per week on average.

    The range was from just over 20 hours to 8.4 hours.

    The three subjects with the lowest hours of teaching – historical and philosophical studies, linguistics and social studies – had less than half the level of teaching of the most heavily taught subject, veterinary and agricultural science.

    In addition, the amount of private study ranged from 16.5 hours a week among those on architecture, building and planning courses to 9.5 hours in mass communications and documentation. The average was 12.5 hours.

    A separate survey, Eurostudent 2005, collates comparable data on the socio-economic background and living conditions of students throughout Europe. Those taking their first degree in Germany typically spend nearly 35 hours per week in total studying, and in Portugal it is about 40 hours per week.

Oh dear. So why does it take German students so much longer, on average, to complete their degrees?

But worse is to come. In a quote, which surely could not be anything like a gross over-simplification, the director of HEPI, Bahram Bekhradnia, said there was also:

a marked gender difference in the amount of studying that students did. “Boys are down the pub and the girls are in the library, you can characterise that as”

Despite this, the report really is worth reading.

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