Pandemic causes study delay for an increasing number of students

Groningen Central Station. Photograph: Gijs de Koning

Bas Bruins had great plans for getting his master’s degree in International business but because the pandemic caused delays in his studies, he is stuck at home watching his computer screen on which a teacher whom he’d never met tries to teach a Spanish class. And he is not the only student who is facing this frustration.

As the corona crisis seems to worsen in the Netherlands, more and more students in Groningen still are not able to attend their classes in person, have to adjust to online learning, and have to deal with a lot of changes over-all. This has a negative effect on their motivation and causes delays in their studies. 

Bas Bruins is part of a household in which four out of eight students have delays in their studies because of the corona crisis.

Bas Bruins has difficulty finishing his bachelor’s degree because he is not able to do the research he wants to do for his thesis. He deals with this delay by doing extra classes in Spanish and administrative law. He says “It is frustrating. I had vastly different plans for my future but now I am mostly stuck at home doing classes on the computer.”

The Northern Times reports that there are 54,000 more students with delays in their studies compared to two years ago.

Dennis van Dam, part of the same household, also had trouble keeping up with his studies when the Corona crisis changed the way classes are given at the University of Groningen. He explains “because the situation was very uncertain in the beginning, my exams for my degree in law kept moving back until I had to do all the exams of two blocks in one week, and I did not manage to get sufficient grades on most of them.”

There are students who manage to keep up their studies despite the pandemic. Dieter van Til, a student at the Hanze Hogeschool, says “I have a class in-person once a week and we do group projects which helps a lot with my motivation to keep studying.”

However, Dieter van Til also sees the effects of the pandemic around him. He says “lots of other people’s classes in my study are already canceled because too many of the students are sick. Most of them probably don’t have corona but they stop the class anyway.” Van Til is also unsure if he “can get on exam level with this half study way.”

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