Gavin Williamson mocked for demanding universities get back to ‘in person teaching’ while using videolink

“Gavin a mare’ should be a thing.”

The education secretary Gavin Williamson has been ridiculed after urging universities to get back to in person teaching, while appearing at the Universities UK conference via videolink.

The Times’ Nicola Woolcock tweeted: “Gavin Williamson doesn’t turn up in person to Universities UK conference in Newcastle – but uses his videolink speech to warn universities to get back to in person teaching…”

Williamson told the conference: “The survey shows that in-person teaching is now one of the top three areas singled out for improvement by students.

“This is something that we cannot ignore. While the switch to online teaching was a necessary and vital way of keeping young people learning in as safe a way as possible, we have now moved on and students quite rightly expect that they can study in person alongside other students.

“Imagine trying to make sense of the subtleties of interpreting Chekov for the stage or carrying out complex molecular biology techniques over Zoom.

“I for one would need the full benefit of that in-person, world-class teaching that you and your members can rightly be so proud of.

“Obviously, I am not saying that you relax all those health measures which are there to keep people as safe as possible and minimise the risk of Covid transmission.

“What I do want to make clear is that I do not expect to see online learning used as a cost-cutting measure.”

In response to his latest blunder, The Supply Teachers Association tweeted: “Gavin Williamson uses videolink to tell university conference: ‘Get back to in-person teaching’

Another social media user wrote: “Always a bright spark. Gavin Williamson. Calling for end to online lectures. Via Zoom to Conference of UK universities. Oh the irony…”, while Gareth Davies of The Bureau also responded and joked “he’s having a good week,” before adding: “Gavin a mare’ should be a thing.”

Basit Mahmood is co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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