One in four students 'sleeps in lectures'

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The Independent Online

One in four students admit sleeping in lectures at university, a survey for The Independent reveals today.

One in four students admit sleeping in lectures at university, a survey for The Independent reveals today.

The survey of more than 1,300 students at 96 universities also shows that 25 per cent believe teaching standards at their university are poor.

A staggering 58 per cent either skipped lectures or turned up late - with 10 per cent admitting to attending a lecture while drunk. More than 20 per cent of students admitted skipping at least one in five lectures during an academic year.

The findings will worry ministers and vice-chancellors as universities compete in a global market for students. Academics say overseas students will be put off applying to UK universities if they perceive undergraduates are dissatisfied with teaching standards.

Bahram Bekhradnia, head of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said he felt the percentage showing dissatisfaction was high, and that an equivalent survey in the US showed an 85 per cent satisfaction level.

"I am a bit gloomy about the quality of what students are getting now and that makes me worried about overseas students," he said.

The survey, carried out by OpinionpanelResearch, shows students are just as likely to be disappointed by teaching standards in older, more established universities as they are in the former polytechnics.

Of those skipping lectures, the majority come from the older universities - suggesting the old universities put less effort into teaching than research. Lecturers there also believe their students are better prepared and know how to pass exams.

The figures also show that 55 per cent of students have eaten during a lecture while almost three-quarters have left their mobile on. Two thirds have text-messaged fellow students while one in eight has answered calls on their mobiles. Male students were the main culprits and were more likely to skip lectures or text-message their friends during classes.

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