The Student Union of the University of Oulu (OYY) is extremely concerned about the well-being of students. In the spring of 2020, the University of Oulu switched over to remote teaching arrangements due to the coronavirus pandemic. In October, the University of Oulu made the decision to continue remote teaching until the end of the academic year 2020–2021, which means over a year of remote teaching. According to the survey of OYY and the University of Oulu, different factors have significantly made the lives of students more difficult during remote studying. Those factors included stress, the challenges in life management, motivation and mental health, and the imperilment of income. The assessments of treatment needs related to mental health in the FSHS have increased from January to October approximately 24 % in comparison to the year 2019. Remote teaching has significantly increased disparity in the well-being of students.
The changed teaching arrangements and ways for conducting studies as well as the increased responsibility for independent studying are straining students, and the lack of the support of a studying community challenges and strains students. As remote teaching continues, it is important to pay attention to the well-being of students and support them in their studies. Flexible ways for conducting studies and guidance when needed are good ways to prevent the straining of students. The Student Union and the University conducted a survey for Tutor Teachers, who are the closest counsellors for students. According to the survey, 60 % of Tutor Teachers are concerned about their students.
The University of Oulu has increased the number of student admissions and it is extremely important that the resourcing for support services increases with the same ratio as student admissions, especially now that the coronavirus pandemic challenges the well-being of students. Offering the needed support for students should be possible already in an early stage in order to secure the progress of their studies. Especially the resources for early stage support, such as resources for Academic Officers and Tutor Teachers, should be increased. It is in no one’s best interest that a student has to abandon their studies due to a lack of guidance and support.
OYY calls for the University to increase easily accessible guidance and support services so that as many students as possible would be able to complete their studies and would not burn out with their studies. Additional resourcing for the counselling and guidance services of students is above all important in the current prevailing situation. OYY thinks that the University should use the financial gains of previous years for the additional funding of guidance and support services.
“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are significant in the well-being of students – securing the well-being of students is extremely important now more than ever”, Eetu Leinonen, the Chair of the OYY Board, emphasises.