But it won't be like this for a while. Photo DUB

UU rector keeps hope of physical education after the summer alive

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In Leiden and Amsterdam, there is a lot of speculation about a situation in which the lecture halls will remain completely closed in the first part of the following academic year. The Utrecht Rector Henk Kummeling does not want to think about this yet. According to him, it is clear that there will be limitations. "But for now I see no reason to take away all the hope that people have".

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According to Kummeling, UU is currently developing scenarios in which it is assumed that students and employees will only be able to work to a limited extent at the university. For example, a rapid influx of public transport must be prevented and UU must be able to meet the government's metre-and-a-half requirements in the buildings.

"That means we have to prioritise", Kummeling announces. The question is which researchers and which students are allowed to start first. According to the rector, a big part of education will be blended (a mix of physical and online education), and sometimes an entire course will still take place online entirely. "We are preparing for everything, but I see no reason to take away all the hope that people have.”

Limited physical education
The rector responded to a question from DUB after the Leiden University magazine Mare wrote that in Leiden it was already considered that lectures would take place online only until well into the new academic year. The Amsterdam Folia reported similar notions.

According to the VSNU, an approach to (limited) physical education should be ready when the government gives the green light to universities to organise lectures. This approach will appear “soon”, reports the organisation, “and will also serve as input for new Cabinet measures next week.”

New campaign
Incidentally, this week the VSNU also came up with a new campaign in which it shows prospective students (and the rest of the Netherlands) that education is "on".

Universities work with might and main to provide online workgroups and lectures during the corona crisis. The question is whether prospective students are interested in distance learning. Is studying in times of corona even worthwhile?

Definitely, the universities promise. With a new campaign and accompanying slogan, they want to convince prospective students to enrol for a programme despite the corona crisis and to start in September.

On campus if it’s possible
‘On campus if it’s possible, online because it's possible' is the motto as of today. The campaign is primarily intended for prospective students, but also sends a message to society: despite corona, university education in the Netherlands is "on".

"We don't know what the world will look like after the summer and what cabinet measures will apply then," says spokesman Bart Pierik of university association VSNU. "However, we can show what we have already set in motion in the field of education and research."

Cabinet Time Table
The VSNU estimates that currently more than 90 percent of university education is offered digitally. For the remaining 10 percent, universities remain dependent on the government's 'corona time table’. When can the doors be opened again?

"If we can do more, we'd love to," Pierik says. "The value of classroom education is huge, and practical exams and tests are best organised on campus itself after all.”

 

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