EUROSTUDENT VIII Survey: Higher education students consider their digital skills to be good enough
The latest EUROSTUDENT report provides an overview of the progress of studies, wellbeing, employment and livelihood of higher education students in different life situations. This time, the study focused specifically on digitalisation in higher education studies. For the first time, the EUROSTUDENT survey, carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2022, focused on students’ experiences related to the amount of remote education.
According to the study, digital tools are important for students in almost all fields of education. On average, students also felt that their digital skills were sufficient in relation to the requirements of their field of study. Those who felt that their digital skills were inadequate also thought that their study performance was, on average, weaker than that of others.
Slightly over 50 per cent of all students were satisfied with their online course selection. Around 42 per cent of students thought that teaching should be mainly carried out remotely, while 32 per cent of students preferred contact teaching as the only or main method of delivery.
University students in the fields of information technology and provision of services were most strongly of the opinion that they needed more contact teaching, while those most looking for distance learning opportunities were studying in fields related to natural resources. Students at universities of applied sciences were more satisfied with their current situation, but around 40 per cent of them still said they would like more contact teaching.
International degree students considered contact teaching to be significantly more important than others, whereas those with families or studying for their second degree hoped for more opportunities to study remotely.
Regarding online course selection and student support services, the respondents were most satisfied with the administrative services, provision of electronic learning materials and availability of online teaching, and least satisfied with online guidance for studies.
Nearly half of the respondents felt they had difficulty making ends meet
Of the survey respondents, 45 per cent were currently experiencing some kind of difficulties in making ends meet. The sectors of education differ in this respect; 50 per cent of students in universities of applied sciences and 40 per cent of university students said they had experienced difficulties.
Most difficulties in making ends meet were experienced by foreign students (60%), students with impairments (58%) and those who had transferred to higher education from employment (52%).
Nearly 70 per cent of all respondents, or 74 per cent of university students and 63 per cent of students in universities of applied sciences, said they would be able to cope with an unexpected one-off expense of EUR 600 without help from others.
Popularity of preparation courses declining and international student mobility showing signs of recovery
The EUROSTUDENT report also examines factors affecting student mobility and the effects that the student admissions reform has had on the use of preparation courses, i.e. private tutoring preparing candidates for the matriculation examination or university entrance exams in Finland.
To some extent, the student admissions reform seems to have reduced attendance in preparation courses among applicants who were admitted to university in 2020 or 2021. Around 10 per cent of those who began their studies in 2020 or 2021 said they had attended a preparation course for matriculation examination.
There are encouraging signs that student mobility, which stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic, is beginning to recover. 31 per cent of first and second year university students and 17 per cent of students at universities of applied sciences reported that they intend to attend a student exchange programme at some point in their studies.
The EUROSTUDENT VIII survey was conducted in Finland using an online questionnaire sent to a sample of 26,005 higher education students during the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2022. Data collection, processing and reporting were carried out by Statistics Finland. The study is part of the international EUROSTUDENT project. The results of the study will contribute to the development of higher education and support decision-making.
- Juhani Saari, Senior Statistician, Statistics Finland, tel. +358 295 512 680
- Sara Koivuranta, Senior Statistician, Statistics Finland, tel. +358 295 513 837
- Tuomas Parkkari, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 244
- Kaisu Piiroinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 359