“In as little as three weeks, we made the transition to online education – a project that we would have normally spread over three years”, said Engels during the broadcast. “While we did it on adrenalin, we can’t continue in that vein. We recently held a survey among our students and staff members, which showed that this approach is causing a lot of work-related stress. And a lot of people were suffering from work-related stress before the crisis too – so this is actually on top of that. As a university, we offer our people support programmes, but this doesn’t actually do anything about the root cause of this stress: too much work, plain and simple.”
“I applaud our researchers and support staff for their hard work, but we really need to help them and take some of this burden off their hands. At the same time, we’re assuring students that they can count on a full education programme next year. That’s quite a promise. All this extra work justifies extra compensation,” said Engels, who also called Van Engelshoven’s attention to his demand for financial compensation before the broadcast during a private talk with the Cabinet member.
Van Engelshoven defended her policy by reminding viewers of the € 500 million extra budget for education made available by the Ministry, in compensation for the unexpectedly strong increase in student numbers during the past academic year. While she didn’t hint at future budget cuts, for the moment extra money doesn’t appear in the cards either.