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I saw professors only through a computer screen. There was no opportunity to make friends to talk to and ask questions from the classes. I felt lonely.

17 Comments

A 19-year-old student of Meisei University in Tokyo. Fed up with only being offered online courses due to the coronavirus, he is planning to sue the institution for the return of school fees because it has not fulfilled its obligation to offer face-to-face learning opportunities for more than a year.

© Asahi Shimbun

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I saw professors only through a computer screen. There was no opportunity to make friends to talk to and ask questions from the classes. I felt lonely.

Yeah, I am going to side with the school on this one. The student feeling lonely because they can't meet new people and socialize is not the responsibility of the school. Everyone is in the same boat at the moment!

Students can feel this way when there is not a state of emergency. A university's contractual obligation is not to make students feel happy 24/7 nor make it fun. That is on the student. A university must provide a reasonable education comparable to the fees being paid. If the university is not doing that then it is on the university

In theory, the state of emergency measures are put in place to protect the well-being of the students, faculty, and staff. If they can't provide a safe environment on campus then they need to have them online.

Now, I would be more inclined to support the student if the university was not providing a complete curriculum or the professor was not providing quality lessons then he would have an argument for reduce fees because everything is online. He would probably have better argument that the individual professor is not using the online platform effectively. I heard most Japanese university lectures are usually teacher-centered anyway so online lectures would not be much different. Students can also ask questions during class on chat or by email later. If the student is not using that then once again, it is on him.

Anything else leads me to believe that this student is unmotivated and wants to blame others for his low performance.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

That is too bad that you have to actually study and not make friends nor go to parties nor drink as much as possible. feel very very sorry for you!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

As most Japanese universities are a guaranteed four-years of minimal study to graduate, this student is probably lamenting the fact that he’s not having fun with friends, partying, and having the time of his life before a lifetime of drudgery. Since when have Japanese students made friends of or asked questions to their professors?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

He could be right on suing them, but only if the quality of the remote classes is deficient to the point of not being actually useful (no mechanism to ask questions or discuss the contents of the class for example). But even if he wins his fees back, that would most likely mean he would lose all the time he was enrolled and would have to begin from zero in another university.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yes, and so has the entire rest of the world uni content been forced online. Some institutions obviously have done better at making connections with their students in this difficult time than others, but this feeling of entitlement mid pandemic is not a great look young fella. Just gotta make the most of it and don’t blame others for your lack of imagination and frustrations. Trainer wheels come off when you enter higher education, the onus is on you.

Having said that the old ‘teacher talks ( reads a scripted lesson) , students pretend to listen’ style of education is on show in all its glory when it is faced online. If you have a student near ye have a look at what’s on show. Those educators that lost their mojo long ago and have been getting away with going through the motions and drudgery behind closed doors until now, should start to feel nervous. Many schools won’t survive for much longer unless they really step up their game. Expect more of these claimers to rise.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Right now I'd advise students to either study at a university known to have lots of experience offering distance courses or just not bother.

Lectures are fine online I suppose but seminars are much more difficult to coordinate. Also some books are only available as physical copies in a library which students can't access

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Since when have Japanese students made friends of or asked questions to their professors?

@borscht

You are spot on!

What a self entitled little sod.

As a university professor here in Japan, having to conduct lectures online (where most students don't even turn on their camera) has been incredibly mendokusai.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I bet this same student spent all of his or her time on the phone before the pandemic hit.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14368916

So lessons mostly consisting of watching video and writing report. No return to face to face classes when others department did and no explanation. And no partial refund related to the non-use of the facilities. And only 2 opportunities to interact and built your network for business students. Seems understandable they are upset.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He won't get all his money back, if any, but he should definitely get some, as should all university students. The stupid "registration fee" in saying a school is your top school, or whatever that $2000 grift is, should go first. Plus, any money students paid for dorms and/or apartment rent should be paid back. My friend's son was accepted to school in Hokkaido and he could only do part of his first year until the original SOE, and his apartment has been empty for more than a year as he came back to Osaka, despite him still having to pay rent.

A huge part of university/college is outside of study, and so I feel for these kids. That said, there are ways to meet people, and hopefully some are taking them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It depends on what fees the student is asking for. Tuition should be paid, but if there are separate "activity fees" or "facility fees," such as for being able to use the gym, pool, library, etc. that students are not able to take advantage of, those should be returned.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm not sure that I agree that the university should be legally liable for it, since the situation isn't really the university's fault, but I am very sympathetic to university students going through this. The key part of a university education is not just listening to lectures and reading books, but the social element which itself is a key to education. Students really are being robbed of valuable experiences which they won't get an opportunity to repeat in life - to make friends, to work in groups, to interact with professors and get to know them, etc etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unless its a stem degree or an elite brand school, the only thing university is good for is getting you into debt and getting you a job that doesn’t required a degree.

their better off going to hvac school, quality of life will be higher in the end.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Unless its a stem degree or an elite brand school, the only thing university is good for is getting you into debt

While not as cheap as european universities, universities in Japan aren't as expensive as their american counterparts, and rarely put students and their families into heavy debt.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Use the British Open University system. Distant leaning in your own time and speed. I know many people who took that route rather than being at uni full time.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@zichi

got my degree and then masters without ever stepping in a classroom and did while working full time here in Japan,

thankfully it was all for under a million and half yen, must cost more nowadays

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

carslidy

yes, good on you!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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