Part-Time Students

Christine King (2008 ) in her paper, Part-Time Study in Higher Education, states in order for higher education in the UK to be world leaders they need to recognize that students are part-time to support their educational costs, and to acquire skills for the workplace. Thus, an increasing population of students is becoming lifelong learners to satisfy the updating of skills and develop new knowledge to compete in the workplace. In the UK, 40% of HE students are part-time at 60 institutions including the Open University.

However, they are not homogenous looking for the same educational experience as the next. So what do these students who work part-time or full-time need? Part-time study, flexibility, accessible studies. King states, “Part-time students are consistently disadvantaged by the current system” (p.4) with traditional timetable, long summer breaks, and lack of financial support. There also needs to be a fundamental review of student support systems, such as program advising and guidance.

Some solutions are using technologies, such as Web-based and mobile devices, to develop innovate learning spaces. To transform rigid, traditional organizational structures, curriculum delivery, timetables and services to be more flexible. Another solution is to remove the artificial divide between full-time and part-time. Also, support staff scholarship and finding new ways to measure and record student achievements.

However, it requires changes and additional costs to provide flexible programs and curriculum. Perhaps educational partnerships, such as with employers, might be a solution. As well, “The Government’s unwillingness to support part-time students is based on erroneous assumptions that they can afford it, or their employers are helping them … Only a minority of students get help” (p.8).

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