CANBERRA, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Australian students' satisfaction with their universities crashed during the coronavirus pandemic, a report has found.
The Social Research Center at Australian National University (ANU) on Thursday night published the federal government-commissioned 2020 Student Experience Survey, which surveyed 250,000 students from 41 universities on their learning experience.
It found that overall student satisfaction fell from 78 percent in 2019 to 69 percent in 2020 with universities forced to pivot to online learning.
Institutions in Melbourne, which endured a strict coronavirus lockdown between July and October, were hit hardest.
The University of Melbourne, the best university in Australia according to Times Higher Education (THE)'s global rankings, came in last place in the satisfaction rankings with only 52 percent of students saying their experience was positive compared to 77 percent in 2019.
At Monash University, the second best university in Melbourne and 64th-best in the world according to THE, student satisfaction fell from 78 percent to 60 percent.
Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said that universities had to work hard to improve the student experience.
"Some of our universities have lost that focus and it's time to return to core business," he said in a statement.
"While the results were not unexpected, universities must ensure that as classes resume for 2021, they are focused on giving local students the best possible education and learning experience."
Alison Barnes, president of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), said that educators were under intense pressure in 2020 with universities forced to cut staff after being denied access to the government's JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.
"To do online teaching well, you need to invest significant resources in it," she said.
"We have a situation where staff is being cut, work intensity is increasing and the government really failed to provide the sector with any kind of rescue package or lifeline."