Academic claims UK students are 'too needy' and require 'hand holding' through degree course

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
An academic said Britain's undergraduate students were seeking more guidance and being "too needy" (GETTY)

A senior academic says students in Britain are “too needy” and “demanding” and seek ever increasing feedback on their work.

Professor Mark Aspinwall, a former chairman of politics at Edinburgh University, said today’s undergraduates required “more hand holding” through their courses.

He compared Britain’s students to where he now works at Mexico City as a research professor in economics.

The professor said students expected more feedback during their degree courses (GETTY)

Professor Aspinwall said his students in Mexico were happier and demanded less feedback.

The research professor also said undergraduates were currently citing special circumstances at a higher rate than ever.

Professor Aspinwall also said students were demanding increasing amounts of feedback through their degrees.

Writing in Times Higher Education magazine, Professor Aspinwall said: “Their demands appear ever more detailed and persistent.

The professor said his students in Mexico were happier and required less feedback (GETTY)

“Take feedback. Students want more of it, are unhappy with what they get, and seem to want to know — as if they’re baking a cake — exactly what steps they need to take to get a great result.

“At Edinburgh, I wrote blogs on the how and why of feedback and we met to try to improve its design. We tried to emulate best practice from elsewhere. Yet, each year, we sank further in the feedback rankings.”

He added: “The other thing that seems to have changed is the number of students citing special circumstances.

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“Of course lecturers want them to be healthy, but it can be frustrating to deal with all their emotional, mental and physical conditions given the heavy administrative load that it implies.”

Yahoo News UK has contacted the National Union of Students (NUS) for comment.

The comments come after a report in July showed almost half of the UK’s universities and colleges experienced a fall in the proportion of students who are happy with their higher education experience.

The National Student Survey (NSS) revealed that the overall percentage of students who felt satisfied with their course and institution increased to 84%.