The COVID-19 pandemic, which has swept across Europe, has made changes to many facets of life, from working conditions to freedom of movement. Education has been one of the sectors disrupted by the crisis, with educational provision both in Europe and globally having gone on-line. In higher education, on the one hand, this new moment has highlighted certain advantages to on-line studying, including lower living costs for students who would otherwise study away from their family home. On the other, it has underlined inequalities between students, particularly in relation to differences in terms of digital skills, support networks and home environment resources.
This report presents insights on student experiences during lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic based on questionnaire responses given by students studying in Europe in April 2020. The broader framework of the research was informed by the notion of resilience as “a process linking a set of adaptive capacities to a positive trajectory of functioning and adaptation after a disturbance” (Norris et al. 2008, 130). In less technical terms, the research focus has examined the capacity of students, understood as a diverse group, to have reasonably positive academic experiences in a disaster context such as the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the role of their academic environment, social networks, emotional make-up, knowledge and skills and material resources in enabling such experiences.
At the very end of the report, we provide insights on students’ responses to open questions which covered the advantages and disadvantages of on-line studying during the pandemic, problems students encountered, and suggestions for improvement.