Every year, NOKUT, the Norwegian agency for quality in higher education and upper secondary vocational education (nationally referred to as higher VET), conducts a survey among students about their study quality experience.
As part of the study barometer for vocational college students (EQF5) in 2020, questions were asked one month after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Norway about how it affected everyday study. The research results are presented in the relevant NOKUT report.
The findings confirm the impression that the situation has been demanding for many students. One quarter of the students reported that the pandemic affected their everyday life in such a way that made it difficult to continue with their education. Many VET students are at an age where they might be a parent, and for those with children, closing of schools and kindergartens posed a new challenge. Many students work in parallel, and being laid off made their financial situation difficult. The report also points out that home education and lack of contact with fellow students and teachers resulted in loss of motivation for some.
Big differences were detected among different groups of students in how the pandemic affected their everyday study. Campus students experienced much greater changes than those who followed online studies. Experiencing that teaching had significantly changed due to the pandemic was reported by 80% of campus student, 50% of students involved in group-based study, and about 10% of those in online education.
Many people found online teaching unmotivating. Many also experienced that the teaching was reduced, or that they did not receive any teaching at all. Lack of equipment and premises were also pointed out as a reason for lower motivation. Students in creative subjects felt particularly affected. In some other subjects, students lost their practice training; this was especially challenging for students in the field of transport. Many students in health and welfare subjects also reported that their internships were cancelled.
Although the situation has been challenging for many, vocational school students are generally convinced that vocational schools have handled the situation well. They were satisfied that the schools quickly put in place solutions for online teaching and were largely satisfied with the digital solutions chosen. The students were also satisfied with the information they received from the schools. The report concludes that vocational schools have every reason to be satisfied with how they adapted to the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.