The impact of two COVID-19 lockdowns on New Zealand tertiary education students studying at a regional Polytechnic
Publish Date: Monday, 11 March 2024

Will Jenkins




The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on the tertiary education system, such as when students were required to be locked down and remain at home for all purposes including study. This is the first New Zealand study to measure the experience of lockdown after two lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 respectively. A convenience sampling technique was used to survey 68 students at a regional Polytechnic (UCOL). Participants were surveyed on their accommodation, work status as well as their experience of online learning, studying from home, their emotional state and what helped improve their experience of lockdown. Participants were asked to contrast their experience of lockdown in 2021 with the first lockdown in 2020. Almost 31% stated it was about the same and 42% stated it was much better or better in 2021. Participants were asked to rate their overall experience of lockdown and were divided into three approximate groups; those who found it mainly negative, an in between group and those who found it mainly positive. The mainly negative group when compared to the mainly positive group were associated with greater accommodation challenges, work stress, home study challenges, negative emotional states and lower uptake of protective behaviours. Various recommendations are made to plan for and improve the experience of students studying under lockdown conditions for a future pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; New Zealand; tertiary; education; lockdown; polytechnic


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