Universities are doing their level best to provide online working groups and lectures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is whether up-coming students want distance education. Is studying during the pandemic worth the bother?
It certainly is, the universities promise. With a new campaign and accompanying slogan, they want to convince prospective students to register for a study programme despite the pandemic and to start in September.
‘On campus, if possible, online because it is possible,’ is the motto from today. The campaign is meant for potential students, but it is also a message for society: university education in the Netherlands is, “on” despite the coronavirus.
“We don’t know what the world will look like after the summer and which cabinet measures will then apply,” says spokesman Bart Pierik from university association VSNU. “But we can show now what we have set up in terms of education and research.”
The VSNU estimates that at the moment more than 90 per cent of the university education is available in digital format. For the remaining 10 per cent, the universities depend on the cabinet’s ‘corona-timetable’. When can the doors be re-opened?
“When we are allowed to do more, we will gladly do that,” says Pierik. “The value of teaching in a group is great, and practicals and exams are best organised on the campus itself.”
But what will that one-and-a-half-metre-education look like? Plans for that are being made at the moment. VSNU wants to have an approach for (limited) face-to-face education ready for when the cabinet gives the go-ahead. That approach will appear “shortly,” the umbrella organisation reports, “and will also serve as input for next week’s new cabinet measures.”
Go-ahead or not, a lot of education will still take place online. According to Mare, Leiden University is assuming that this will be the case until February. Groningen University is going to continue with a “hybrid form” of education in September, UKrant reported today.
HOP, Evelien Flink