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50% say unis should require vaccine – survey

A recent report from higher education think tank QS has revealed that half of international students think that universities should “require students to have had the vaccine before the student can travel to the country of their chosen institution”.

International studentsMost international students would be willing to get a vaccine. Photo: Unsplash

65% of international students were open to taking a coronavirus vaccine

Based on responses from 2,513 current and prospective international students from 153 countries, a further 23% did not support the measure and 27% were unsure, while around 65% of international students were open to taking a coronavirus vaccine compared to 10% that would not.

Of those 10%, almost four out of 10 would however agree to have the vaccine if their university required them to have it before going overseas.

“As countries across the world look to ramp up their vaccination programs and reopen their economies, it is vital for universities to consider the approach that they want to take regarding the vaccination of their students,” said QS marketing director Paul Raybould.

“It is more important than ever that institutions provide clear, effective, data-led decision making and communications”

“Whilst some international students believe that vaccination should be a requirement in order to travel to study, others are more sceptical and so it is more important than ever that institutions provide clear, effective, data-led decision making and communications.”

One US institution, Rutgers University, announced in March that it would require all students to be vaccinated before arriving on campus for the fall 2021 semester. Northeastern has revealed similar plans, saying that it will help international students “who cannot get vaccinated before arriving on campus in the fall navigate vaccination as needed”.

In Europe, all teaching staff and students at the University of Gibraltar have been offered the Covid-19 vaccine, which “means that we have been able to return to on-campus learning and to continue to offer a consistent, excellent student experience”, according to the institution’s vice chancellor, Catherine Bachleda.

The QS report also offered new insight to international students’ attitudes towards online teaching. Almost one in five respondents said they preferred online teaching over in-person, with a further 23% indicating they had no preference.

However, 63% of students had attended virtual lectures at night.

“In a recent survey of higher education professionals conducted by QS, we found that 55% had introduced flexible timetables to allow students who were studying remotely to attend lectures at a reasonable hour,” the report noted.

“However, given that the majority of international students still have to attend lectures at night time, it is clear this is an issue which needs further action from universities.”

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