Text HOP / Albert Sikkema
The House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) discussed the cabinet’s corona policy this week. Many parties are delighted that universities and universities of applied science are able to open up again. Finally, the students will return to normal education, was the general sentiment. But, what about students with health issues who are unable to get vaccinated, several parties demanded to know? Will universities be able to offer both offline and online education simultaneously?
Minister of Education Van Engelshoven stepped in and warned about work pressure among teaching staff. She did not want to guarantee the “right” to hybrid education. ‘Of course, education institutes consider providing everyone, vulnerable students included, with education as their core task’, she said. ‘This calls for a tailored approach because no two vulnerable students are the same.’
Offering all courses in a hybrid form is impossible, said the minister. Nonetheless, government party ChristenUnie submitted a motion in collaboration with PvdA and GroenLinks. The motion calls for ‘hybrid education for this group of students until such a time that they too are safe.’ The motion was unanimously accepted, all parties voted in favour.
In a previous interview with the daily newspaper NRC, Wageningen rector magnificus Arthur Mol stated that WUR would not be offering all classes both online and offline this coming year. The accepted motion will not change this. ‘As always, we will accommodate vulnerable students as best we can and as we always have. We have done so in the past, during and after the corona crisis.’ But for the coming year, WUR’s focus lies on campus education. ‘We cannot guarantee a fully hybrid programme as this costs a lot of extra time, and our teachers are busy enough as it is. So, we will aim for a tailored solution, as is the gist of the motion.’