This is revealed in a report (links to Dutch content) entitled ‘Dear Mark’, that provides an overview of the outcome of three different surveys held among 7750 students. The report also contains suggestions for improving the corona measures.
The report was written by students from Leiden, Delft, and Utrecht. They call themselves Students Research Together (Dutch acronym SOS). They have the support of the national student organisation ISO (Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg). The report occasionally reads more like a cry from the heart directed at the Prime Minister (‘Dear Mark’) than an actual study. The main topic: the lockdown has a massive impact on students.
Some 1250 students were asked about their use of narcotics since the start of the corona crisis. One in five has increased their alcohol consumption, one in ten uses more drugs, and 12 per cent does both.
Financial worries are also present for one-third of the students, who have either lost their side-job or have seen their hours cut back as a result of the corona pandemic. However, almost no-one mentions a higher student debt as a result of falling back in their studies.
Internships and student psychologists
The students also offer suggestions. They call for more student psychologists and more internships at government facilities and institutes. Moreover, some teachers could benefit from a course in online education, the report states.
The writers of the report would like to consult (links to Dutch content) with the government on the impact the measures have on students, and on a smart transition back to normal life. Or, as they say: an intelligent open-up.
Meanwhile, student unions worry about the curfew. Student union LSVb says youths are already struggling. ‘Increasingly, we get reports from students struggling with issues ranging from apathy to depressions. A curfew means the last bit of freedom they have is removed.’
The ISO is also concerned about the wellbeing of students but does not question the curfew. ‘If the experts decide a curfew is needed to fight the virus, who are we to think we know better?’, says ISO chair Dahran Çoban.
Both ISO and LSVb petition to have physical education as much as possible. According to ISO rapid testing and making use of external teaching and examination locations could help.