Student unions ask unis to cancel BSA this year

Student unions ask unis to cancel BSA this year

On Wednesday morning, eight student unions sent urgent letters to their boards of directors asking that the binding study advice (BSA) be cancelled for first-year students this year.
25 November om 11:49 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 25 November 2020
om 11:55 uur.
November 25 at 11:49 AM.
Last modified on November 25, 2020
at 11:55 AM.
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Door Giulia Fabrizi

25 November om 11:49 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 25 November 2020
om 11:55 uur.
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By Giulia Fabrizi

November 25 at 11:49 AM.
Last modified on November 25, 2020
at 11:55 AM.
Avatar photo

Giulia Fabrizi

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Two weeks ago, the ministry of Education, Culture and Science announced that the BSA would not be cancelled for research universities, but that it would be for universities of applied sciences. The ministry said that first-year students at research universities haven’t suffered the delays that applied sciences students have, since the latter have more practical classes, which they’re now missing. 

Marinus Jongman, president of the Groninger Studentenbond, says it’s not that simple: ‘The BSA causes first-year students undue stress. We therefore firmly request that universities cancel it, and we want them to be aware of the severity of the situation first-years are in.’ 

Corona crisis

Together with seven student unions from other student cities, including Amsterdam, Maastricht, and Delft, Jongman has sent an urgent letter to the board of directors. 

In the letter, the unions emphasise how ‘poorly students are doing during the corona crisis’. The unions cite a study done by Carin Universities and say that 56.3 percent of students are having problems focusing, 52.5 percent feels lonely, and 52.8 percent of students don’t know how the corona crisis will impact their academic careers. 

‘In a time where there’s so much uncertainty about their progress and student well-being, the BSA just puts extra pressure on them, when things are already so complicated’, says Jongman.

Delay

The letter writers also say that the study delays students suffered last year aren’t a good yardstick for the delays students might suffer this year. After all, last year the students started out under ‘normal’ circumstances, they say. ‘Even though allowances have been made for them, the current generation of first-year students are in a situation where they barely even know their educational institute or their fellow students.’

The writers say this means they’re missing out on an important part of contact and coaching. These two elements are essential to students to properly progress in their studies, they say. ‘There were only a few months left until the summer holidays started and the BSA was cancelled for first-years then’, says Jongman. ‘This year, students are taking online classes all year long, and with the ongoing crisis, they’re demonstrably suffering from mental issues. Yet research universities have decided to keep the pressure on them. That’s not right.’ 

Nederlands

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