The University of the Highlands and Islands intends to start the autumn term as planned.

UHI has confirmed that it intends to start its autumn term on the usual dates, with the majority of higher education students beginning their studies on Monday 7 September. Further education students will also start at the times they usually would through their individual partner colleges and institutions.

The university partnership, which delivers educational opportunities to learners across the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire and beyond, will draw on its experience in blended learning to run courses in line with Scottish Government public health guidance. The approach will combine video conferencing and remote learning technologies as well as face-to-face teaching where possible and appropriate.

The decision was agreed by all 14 principals of the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership at a meeting last week.

Professor Crichton Lang, the university’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, explained: “We have been developing and delivering our courses to students across our partnership and the world for over 20 years, connecting our students and our communities. We have established proven ways of learning through technology, delivering an active and personalised experience to our students who are supported through our university partnership of colleges and research institutions.

“We will continue to draw on this experience and knowledge to deliver courses in the autumn term using our blended approach to teaching. This includes using video conferencing, inventive remote learning technologies and some face-to-face teaching where it is safe and important to do so.

“We will be working hard to share our existing expertise, knowledge and practical learning to enhance the delivery of all courses across further and higher education, while still adhering and adapting to changing government guidelines. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all of our staff and students.”

The university has also worked with the Highlands and Islands Students' Association and Comann nan Oileanach at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI to agree that there will be no graduation ceremonies, either in person or virtually, during 2020. Students who finish their courses this year will still receive official confirmation of their awards from the awarding body, with higher education students having their awards conferred and graduating in absentia. The university partnership is planning to organise events for 2021 which will enable graduates and guests to celebrate when it is safe to do so.

The university is still welcoming applications for courses starting in September.

To find out about the range of opportunities available across the partnership or take part in an online open event, visit www.uhi.ac.uk.