Exams on location can, but not safely

Almost a year now, do we, also in the Netherlands, deal with the Coronavirus. For almost a year, students are at home studying in their (really small) student room, or at their parents’. In the same year we have heard from all kinds of people that this is our fault, the youth doesn’t stay at home, the youth keep on partying, studenthouses throw house-parties. These problems are all valid, that’s why we have a curfew, we are in the strongest lock-down in the Netherlands yet. 


At the same time these people are not listened to! Students have to physically go to the university or university of applied sciences to make exams. If you ask why? “Fraud is the biggest problem”. Students are the exception to the curfew once they have to make an exam. The exception to a maximum allowed people in a room? Students making an exam! Elementary schools are closing, highschools and all higher education. But student have to make their exams on location. 


Now you might think, there is no other way, but there is. We have seen it during the first lockdown, exams had to happen at home, practical exams were postponed. Entire buildings are empty, the universities are empty and abandoned, but at the same time an exam takes place in a different part of the building, with more than 100 people in a room. 


For a year now we’ve been talking about “own responsibility”, for a year we’ve been taking measures because people cannot take enough own responsibility. But when you’re having physical exams, you are not only asking a student “are you willing to risk your health?” No it is also asking responsibility of a student at the moment he feels slightly sick, has a positive tested housemate or another reason to be self-quarantined. Are you willing to take responsibility, if the risks for your fellow students seem small, but you will have a delay in your studies? 


Of course there are corona-resits, but are you willing to throw away weeks of studying because you have a running nose? The resit is your last shot, are you willing to have study delay? 


These are questions you cannot ask students. A big part will handle this very well, a small part however, will not. This makes students in the entire province and the Netherlands feel unsafe. 


Until now, we’ve mostly talked about Dutch students, we are a country that is so praud on the internationalization that the main language at some universities is English. Those international students have an even harder time, many have returned to their parents’ because they are worried. By asking them to make an exam at location, you have more international travels and you risk spreading the virus. They often have to travel through multiple countries, which not only endangers them, but also the rest of the Netherlands. 


We call for a revision of the policy, make sure exams are made at home, if an exam has to be physical, use those empty classrooms, and make sure there are multiple resit moments. 


Only together we can control Corona, we are happy to help, but do we have a choice?

Nicolien Boekhoudt, voorzitter Jonge Socialisten Overijssel    Contact the author of the petition

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