Pauline Wiersema – EUR student and freelance illustrator for EM – was feeling rather frustrated. “Everywhere else, the rules are being relaxed, but nothing is being said about secondary vocational (mbo), higher professional (hbo) and university education. I find that worrying. The political pattern is wrong: the main lobbies reflect the economic interests. They are the ones that seem to take precedence. Education doesn’t seem to be a priority in the relaxation of the rules.”
Irritation usually gets Wiersema going, she says. She started a protest and shared photos of students holding up a piece of paper saying ‘#1septemberoffline’ on her Instagram stories (@pinopotato). “I’ve heard nothing about preparations that will enable us all to get back on campus on 1 September, and I want there to be more focus on that. To be clear: I don’t think that everything must open on 1 September if it isn’t safe. I understand that it can’t happen if there are new outbreaks. It’s about being prepared.”
In-person education practically impossible
But hasn’t there been some relaxation of the rules in higher education, with in-person education one day a week? “In practice, certainly at Erasmus University, that doesn’t happen. Since the new rules, no one in my pre-master sociology has been on campus. And I hear that from students in other programmes too. My main concern is that we’ll be told in September: sorry, we didn’t manage to get things sorted, so we’ll have to continue online. We need to make plans now for 1 September, to make sure that those plans can really be implemented.”
On Monday, she sent her argument to the Executive Board of Erasmus University and to thirty members of the House of Representatives with the higher education portfolio, hoping that this will influence the debate in the House of Representatives about coronavirus measures which is taking place on Thursday, and to hear what preparations relate to EUR. She hopes to receive an answer within two weeks.