Covid measures have yet to affect the quality of college and university education – yet

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Students want a return to physical teachers. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Colleges and universities have been hit hard by the coronavirus measures, but so far it has not affected student progress and the quality of education, the education minister told MPs , Ingrid van Engelshoven.

However, the decline in student well-being, the increased pressure on teachers and lecturers, the lack of internship and practical training places are cause for concern, the minister said in a letter on the consequences of the coronavirus for education.

Many students struggle to study at home and suffer from stress and depression while teachers miss the normal teacher-student interaction, the minister said.

This has so far not led to a significant number of dropouts or a slowdown in the progress of studies, according to the figures. Van Engelshoven called the results “a great achievement for students, administrators and all those working in education”.

There is a limit to their flexibility, however, she told broadcaster NOS, and things could change for the worse the longer the measures stay in place.

The quality of education is also a concern, not because there are doubts about the value of degrees, but because students lack interaction with their peers. In addition, online courses are not a good substitute for the practical training that vocational college students need, the minister said.

This is counterbalanced by the fact that students have reported that their ability to study independently has increased and that all sectors are working hard to make online education more varied and interactive, she said.

Practical courses

Van Engelshoven is considering using empty sports and facilities or convention halls to make hands-on lessons possible, and said education should be prioritized for rapid tests to bring some relief over the next school year.

Of particular concern is the lack of places for trainee nurses. The number of students is greater than in previous years, but internship places in hospitals and nursing homes are scarce because they cannot provide the necessary supervision, the minister said.

Student unions LSvb and ISO have said they want students compensated for any delays caused by coronavirus measures. “They can’t foot the bill for this,” LSvb president Lyle Mins told the broadcaster.

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