'Lucht je hart': Talking to the education minister about the impact of corona

Jonathan van Rijn

Caretaker Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven was on campus on Monday 15 March for the interactive talk show  ‘Lucht je hart’ (speak your mind). In an open conversation, students were able to share their experiences about the impact of the corona crisis on their studies and student life. The participants want to find out together how the students can be offered more perspective. The broadcast is a collaboration between student interest organizations LSVb, ISO, LKvV and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Tired of their laptops and from watching at screens, that is what all students indicate now that their social life and their studies largely take place online. “Student life is a poor substitute for what could be,” one student said in a video message. The discussion was therefore about what students have been helped with now, but also about how education can prepare for possible relaxation in the future. According to outgoing Minister Van Engelshoven, input from students is important: “Give students the space to think along. It is also important to look ahead. For example, already meet with institutions and the municipality to discuss the introduction week (Eureka week). Make plans and work out different scenarios. "

For Van Engelshoven it was the third time in a year that she has visited Erasmus University Rotterdam. In addition to the minister, Said Kasmi (Alderman Rotterdam), Ed Brinksma (Chairman of the EUR Executive Board), Wouter van Dam (EUR university student council), several EUR students and various representatives of student associations took part. Viewers could share their input online and the most common questions were discussed at the table.

“Make use of study places”

There was a strong focus on the need for more study places. Chairman of the board Ed Brinksma was charmed by the offer from student association RSG to set up study places in their building and indicated that he wanted to investigate this. “What we have already done is to double the number of study places and these are now open to all students who need them. Are you unable to study at home for whatever reason? Make use of the study places.”

Brinksma also endorsed the importance of anticipating to possible relaxations on time. Lectures with 500 people are not possible for the time being, everyone agreed, but what will be possible later? On March 23, the cabinet will decide whether physical education will be possible again from April onwards. "We're not sure how the coming months will go, so we need to prepare for many scenarios and anticipate the corona rules of the day."

Work groups on campus have priority

The work groups turned out to have the highest priority for students, because the dynamics in a group online are different. According to Van Engelshoven, working groups will be the first in line when education can open again. “We are now putting together the puzzle for the coming months. We may be able to offer prospects more quickly with vaccinations and self-testing. All students want to be able to return to university safely and responsibly, ” said outgoing Minister Van Engelshoven.

Foto's 'Lucht je hart'