Student organisations warn of study delays because of corona


Students should not pay the price for the corona crisis, say student organisations LSVb and ISO. They warn of study delays, now all classes in higher education are cancelled.

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The measures taken to limit the spread of the corona virus were once again expanded yesterday. First, all large-scale lectures were cancelled. Soon after, the decision was made to halt all physical classes at universities and universities of applied sciences until the end of the month.

The National Student Union (LSVb) is content with the decision. “We were already receiving questions from our constituency,” says president Alex Tess Rutten. “People didn’t understand why it’d be allowed to sit in an exam room with hundreds of others, while lectures were being cancelled.”

The LSVb urges universities and universities of applied sciences to cancel any mandatory attendance, and to offer additional resit opportunities. “The biggest issue for now is study delays. We’re in discussion with the ministry about this. A year’s delay is something many students can’t afford. They should not have to pay the price for the corona crisis.”

In a jam
The worry is one the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) shares. “A few weeks’ worth of working is doable,” says president Kees Gillesse. “But if the situation lasts longer than that, there will be a time where you’ll get in a jam with exams, binding study advice, or graduation projects.”

For now, it remains unclear who will pay the cost if large groups of students experience study delays. The higher education institutions have a profiling fund that might be able to support in this. But if thousands of students apply for help, it’ll become quite costly.

“We just have to make quality agreements with universities and universities of applied sciences about delays,” says Gillesse. “The most important thing is that everything is being done to minimise the virus.” LSVb president Rutten adds: “If the RIVM experts advise doing this, it’s not up to us to doubt that.”

She says not all institutions handled cancelling classes and exams ‘appropriately’. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, for instance, is still letting smaller classes take place today.

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