February 5, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Empty lecture halls: “Make higher education more attractive”

Empty lecture halls: “Make higher education more attractive”

No wonder students shy away from physical lectures, says National Union of Students vice president, Joshua De Ross. According to him, higher education should provide more space for “in-depth discussions and personal development”.

Online education has made great progress during the Corona pandemic. Now that lecture halls have opened again, an astonishing number of students are still staying at home. This has nothing to do with laziness among students, Joshua de Ros says in a statement opinion article in Volkskrant. According to him, he basically says something about the “negative and individual character of higher education”.

You write that in large lectures there is hardly any room for in-depth discussions and personal guidance by the teacher. Isn’t that what working groups mean?
Sure, there’s also that space in workgroups, but it’s still very little. At the same time, you see that the lectures are getting bigger and bigger. I am calling for more space in higher education to interact in smaller groups.”

How good is working groups actually visiting after lifting Corona measures?
“We hear that working groups should also remain empty. Their attendance may be a little better than lectures, but worse than it was before Corona. Colleges and universities are trying to overcome this through attendance requirement. I think we should ask ourselves in particular why students are turning away. “.

Doesn’t that mean that students are also not very interested in working groups, despite the space for interaction and discussion?
“I think they need it. But due to the Corona pandemic, some students don’t really know what they are missing out on if they don’t attend physical lectures. They are used to only caring about what it takes to pass a test. They can usually get this information from a book. The material is often duplicated. Only in working groups, while interesting ethical discussions are not always held.”

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Is professional knowledge covered in lectures no longer enjoyable for students? Did they not choose their studies themselves?
“Students also sometimes choose a study program because it allows them to get a good job and not always out of self-interest. But this knowledge is definitely important for students because they need it to graduate. I just think it’s more motivating if education is about more than just imparting knowledge It would be good if it was more often linked to personal development and more attention was paid to the mental health of students.”

The teachers are busy. Is not this interest at the expense of the educational material?
“A lot of personal development involves connecting educational materials to your life, who you are and the world you live in. I think this goes hand in hand. If we integrate personal development and more interaction into education, it will become more fun and interesting. Students now have lost connection with their college and university. So few come to the campus.”

Isn’t this a chicken and an egg story: don’t students feel more connected to each other and to their teachers when they attend lectures?
“Students also have their own responsibility in this, of course. However, I think there would be more enthusiasm for physical lectures if education was organized differently. I would encourage students to be critical of their lessons and say what they want. It is good to start talking about that. “.