Cover Image by Melissa Friedrich
I’ve been a student at IE for a while and have seen its attendance system at its best and its worst. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, students had a strict in-person policy where, if they missed more than 30% of classes, they would immediately fail. During the pandemic, IE reformed their attendance policy, allowing for fully online attendance, which adhered to local and international regulations. After the pandemic, IE had the opportunity to extend their slogan of ‘Driving Innovation’ to their long outdated attendance policy, but instead of maximising the potential that hybrid learning could offer students, IE reverted back to their fully face-to-face policy.
The IE attendance policy for 2022-23 states that:
“As per the IE University policy, bachelor and master degree students must attend at least 70% of sessions.This policy applies to any type of session: live in-person sessions on campus, asynchronous sessions, or remotely online as planned in the syllabus.” In exceptional cases students can be granted an attendance waiver in exceptional cases which are stated to be the following “(serious health problems, visa delays, and travel restrictions)”.
It then goes on to say that, in other cases, such as “personal trips, appointments, minor illnesses, family celebrations, or other personal matters,” one can request to attend a class online. However, and this is where it gets interesting, it states that “Although students without attendance waiver can attend the session remotely online, they will be considered as absent. This absence will negatively affect their attendance % as well as their participation grade.” Meaning that students who cannot attend class in-person, yet go out of their way to request online attendance, are rewarded with an absence. If they are going to mark these students absent then why allow them to request and join classes online in the first place?
It is understandable that IE does not want to have the misuse of the attendance policy, however for the students with minor cases that do not require an attendance waiver, why are they punished for attending class online? If the university has the tools and resources to offer hybrid learning, why not just continue ‘Driving Innovation’? By no means is this saying that students should be allowed to go on holiday and connect to class from the beaches of Bali, rather, the administration should realise that there are specific cases where students would benefit from being able to connect online. Therefore the university should consider students’ situations in a case by case format instead of applying a blanket policy to everyone.
Currently, the implementation of this policy has a lot of disparity among the schools, as students have reported some schools to be much harsher in their enforcement of the policy than others. How can an ill business student be allowed to attend a class online, when an architecture student in the same situation cannot?
If IE University wants to be an institution that can claim to be ‘Driving Innovation’, they must be able to continue using the technology and tools that helped them stay on-track over the pandemic years to suit this new era of education, where institutions are becoming increasingly flexible in their ways of learning.
Read the full attendance policy here and let us know your thoughts in the comments below