According to the Outbreak Management Team, introducing the requirement for corona passports in higher education makes little sense if infection rates are rising. Many political parties share their scepticism of the implementation of corona passports in colleges and universities. Now students from the Erasmus University are speaking out against the passport.
Against corona passports
On the Koekamp, eighty members of the activist group “Students for Open Education” spoke out against Minister Hugo de Jonge’s bill to introduce the corona passport in higher education. Students gave speeches on mental health and the negative effects of the corona passport.
Politicians also debated the matter with the students; Freek Jansen of Forum for Democracy was among their number. The organisers were emphatic that the politicians had nothing to do with the activists.
Nawin Ramcharan (24), who is studying Sociology and Management, organised the protest. He wants Erasmus University to stay open for everyone. So he is dead set against any kind of hybrid education that involves getting past a QR check at the gate.
According to Ramcharan, there are plenty of reasons to protest against corona passports for tertiary education: “First and foremost, all students in the Netherlands should be able to have the benefit of an education. From a constitutional point of view, they cannot be excluded from that.
“What’s more, students are not at risk; other groups are far more likely to get sick.” He continues: “It also fans anxiety among students, sending out a subconscious signal that there is something more powerful than us. And research has shown that students who are anxious don’t perform as well others.”
Ramcharan also opposes the way educational institutions have changed their tack. “The government wants to sideline people at the universities and colleges, and deny them their voice when a decision is made about the pass, despite the fact that all the universities and colleges have made it clear that it is going to difficult from a practical point of view to monitor corona passport compliance at the gate.”
On Wednesday the activists sent a manifesto with a petition to various tertiary education institutions. The rising number of students suffering from mental health complaints is being advanced as an argument against corona passports.
Vaccinated or not vaccinated?
Ramcharan is reluctant to reveal whether he himself is vaccinated. “I am often asked whether I have been vaccinated or not, just like the other students I speak to. It shouldn’t be relevant and it stigmatises people. We should be talking instead about how we are going to keep education open in a responsible way.”