Universities are seeing the consequences of the corona crisis for students

Universities are seeing the impact of the corona crisis on their students. Some seniors are still dropping out, others have difficulty with ‘deep learning’ or prefer not to get on campus.

Universities are seeing the consequences of the corona crisis for students
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How is it possible that 2nd year students get so little on campus even though it is allowed again? Rector Han van Krieken from Radboud University Nijmegen talked about it with a group of student administrators, he says during an online meeting with journalists.

The current 2nd year students have started their education during the lockdown and have not experienced an introductory period. They often stay at home and are also less likely to join a student association. According to Van Krieken, one of the student administrators said: “They are actually still high school students. They play football in the same club and have the same friends as in high school.”

Free cookies

President Geert ten Dam of the University of Amsterdam and Rector Arthur Mol of Wageningen University acknowledge the problem. The universities say they do their best to get these students back to campus, if necessary with free coffee and biscuits or with extra activities in the study association. Sometimes the requirement to attend is simply reintroduced.

Another problem is the learning itself, says UvA chairman Geert ten Dam. Learning is not quite the same as earning credits. “Something has also happened with the quality of learning processes, with what we call ‘deep insight’ or ‘deep learning’, because you have to interact with that. The question is how it will develop further. “

Fewer credits

But there is also something wrong with study success. Chairman Pieter Duisenberg of the umbrella association ‘Universities of the Netherlands’ shares some figures and points mainly to the students who received relatively few points during the corona crisis.

In the first year of the corona crisis (spring 2020), the universities postponed the binding study counseling and let everyone get through to the second year. In the following two years, they lowered the number of points from the BSA standard. In particular, it has had consequences for borderline cases.

Some of the students are working towards the BSA standard, the universities have concluded. They barely keep the standard of the binding study counseling and do not do much else that year. So when the standard was lowered, these students did even less. “I think we can all imagine that,” Duisenberg says.

But what about the students? This is where the shoe squeezes. Some are getting fewer and fewer credits and others are still dropping out.

impossible mission

At the University of Amsterdam, for example, in 2019/2020, a relatively large number of students entered the second year with less than 30 of the 60 points in their pocket. Half of these students later dropped out. “If you really do not get enough points the first year, it will be an impossible mission,” says UvA chairman Geert ten Dam.

VU Amsterdam sees a similar pattern. If students continued with less than 42 points in their pocket, 20 percent dropped out anyway in normal years. In the corona era, that percentage jumped to 30 percent.

Great concern

The BSA aims to make it clear to certain students that it is better to study something else. But because of the mildness of the corona crisis, some students will only find out about it in their third year, says Nijmegen principal Van Krieken. “It’s a big concern for us. After a year, it’s better to decide on something like that than if you’ve been studying for nothing for three years.”

The study success in combination with the stories about the students’ well-being and study behavior leads to a conclusion, says Duisenberg: “The corona crisis is really not over yet. We are now in the aftermath. “Universities are not the only ones with this problem, Het Parool reported. Also used universities and MBO institutions are affected. According to the newspaper, it is not easy for students to come: They are demotivated by a almost empty class.


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