Students are affected by the corona crisis in many ways. For example, there are financial consequences because the chance of study delay is considerable, internships are often not completed and part-time jobs are lost. Moreover, a large part of social life is lost. And although education often continues, this does have consequences for exams and education, for example regarding privacy. On this page, we will point out the possibilities students have for financial compensation, for example. We will keep you informed of all matters we are currently working on within the University Student Council (USC) and beyond!
AKKUraatd thinks that online examinations should not be at the cost of student’s privacy. During online examinations that use proctoring however, the privacy of the student is affected. This is due to the storage data on the student and it’s room, via camera images and screen checks. We think this is unnecessary because alternative exams are indeed possible. That is why AKKUraatd is against the use of proctoring. This, of course, means that lecturers must be encouraged and supported to use alternative examination methods.
If the university continues to use proctoring, AKKUraatd wants the guarantee that this will be done as little as possible. In these cases we therefore want that the university communicates to students which alternatives have been considered and why these alternatives have not been chosen. In addition, AKKUraatd advocates an alternative examination opportunity in the same academic year for students who have difficulties with online examination methods due to a disability, for students who object to this in principle, and for students who do not have the facilities to participate in online exams.
What does the current situation mean to me?
For the second semester of 2020-2021 proctoring will remain an option only if there are no other decent alternative examination options.
What kinds of alternatives will be used will differ per study.
If in your opinion proctoring is used without necessity, you should report this to your Education Committee or Faculty Student Council as soon as possible. They can address this problem to those in charge of your study programme.
If you want to make a complaint or objection about an exam, you can contact the Central Complaint Office that will forward your complaint or objection to the right place.
In march of 2021 we have been able to make the university decide that the use of proctoring will not be allowed starting next academic year (2021-2022). For the second semester of 2020-2021 proctoring is still an option though.
- For the academic year 2021-2022 alternative examination options will thus have to considered. The university student participation will be part of the discussion on whether proctoring might be allowed in certain exceptional cases.
What we've already achieved
Meanwhile, the university has switched to use proctoring as a pilot. The results were not very positive, especially from the student side. The privacy aspect of proctoring was also hardly questioned in this pilot. However, the university board seemed to want to continue to use proctoring, albeit under certain conditions. That is why we have set up a petition together with some students of our university to make the opinion of students clear to the university board. This petition already has nearly 2500 signatories! AKKUraatd has offered this petition to the Executive Board. In addition, during our Joint Meeting with the USC and Works Council, we once again tried to draw up an clear and simple advice to the university board. Although again not everyone supported this, we did make sure the message form the Joint Meeting to the university board was an unconditional no to proctoring. At the same time, the Student Council at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) started judicial actions against the use of proctoring, albeit with a slightly different situation and different arguments than with us. The UvA has won this case though, and it has been decided that proctoring may continue to be used at that university.
Unfortunately, the Executive Board has set aside both the petition and our advice as Joint Meeting and has only made adjustments to their proposal to continue proctoring under strict conditions. This mainly concerns the fact that the Examination Board can allow proctoring if it considers it sufficiently substantiated that no alternatives have been used. However, what is sufficient argumentation here remains unclear. The university has on the other hand decided that students are entitled to an alternative if they ask for it, but this can also mean that this alternative will only take place next academic year. Obviously, we do not consider this a real alternative.
Before the summer holidays in 2020, on June 4, AKKUraatd, together with the University Joint Assembly (UGV), entered into a dispute with the Executive Board about online proctoring. The dispute was not about whether this software could be used, but whether the student participation has anything to say about its implementation. The board of the foundation Catholic University Nijmegen (SKU) was asked for a advice, because both parties (CvB and UGV) did not agree with each other on this topic.
After a long process, a conclusion was finally reached on December 10: the UGV will in future be given the right of consent regarding matters that affect the privacy of students and employees. This includes online proctoring. In addition, the student participation at faculty level will have the right to consent to the use of online proctoring, because it is seen as a new test method and must therefore be included in the Education and Examination Regulations (OER).
Eventually, the UGV, including the AKKUraatd representation, voted against the use of Proctoring in the academic year 2021-2022. This means that in the next academic year alternative ways must be considered to make certain (online) examinations possible. There may be exceptional cases where proctoring may be used, but this is currently under discussion. Unfortunately, the decision had already been taken by the Executive Board to use proctoring in the second semester of 2020-2021, so that proctoring can still be used during this period. But AKKUraatd continues to call on people to look for alternatives as much as possible during this period and only use proctoring where there is really no other option.
Here’s what we are going to do
Binding Study Advice
AKKUraatd believes that the only good reason for using the BSA is to give personal advice that helps a first-year student determine whether or not the study is appropriate. However, due to the current Corona crisis, some students are unable to take their courses or exams in such a way that they know if the study is suitable for them. We, therefore, think that first-year students, or second-year students with an arrested BSA, cannot be expected to pass their BSA this year. For those students who are unable to meet their BSA this year, there should be a flexible BSA arrangement that continues to guarantee the above goal
What does the current situation mean to me?
Freshman students who started in the 2019-2020 academic year and have not obtained their BSA, have automatically ended up in the so-called ‘P-in-2 rule’ at the end of the previous academic year. This means that the student must pass the propaedeutic phase in the second year (2020-2021). If the student has not passed the propaedeutic phase in August 2021, the student must still stop studying. If you fall within this group of students, but do not seem to pass your propaedeutic year, please contact your study advisor. You can claim exceptional circumstances and argue according to the following decisions:
The university board has indicated that it will be lenient with regard to students that are not able to finish their propaedeutic phase before August 2021.
University-wide, students will have to obtain 6.5 ECTS less than normal in order to still meet the conditions of the P-in-2 rule.
First-year students who started in the 2020-2021 academic year have a lowered binding study advice (BSA). University-wide, students will have to obtain 6.5 ECTS less than normal for their BSA. If this does not work at the end of the academic year, you can always claim the P-in-2 rule (as set for all students in the year 2019-2020).
What we've already achievedRadboud University has meanwhile communicated that all first-year students will, in any case, receive an arrested BSA. However, this means that they have to remove all 60 EC from their propaedeutic year within 2 years. This is a much stricter BSA regulation than under normal circumstances. Normally, first-year students can only pass a number of propaedeutic subjects later in their studies if they want, as long as they get the number of EC for their BSA. Failure to pass a few first-year subjects (e.g. statistics) can happen to anyone and does not show whether the study suits anyone or not. AKKUraatd pleads for a flexible BSA scheme for all first-year students who are not able to pass their BSA this year, with the goal of BSA in mind. This could, for example, take the form of a retained BSA for all first-year students who are unable to pass their BSA this year, where they can fill in the EC they still have to pass with not only propaedeutic subjects but also second-year subjects. This allows these students to discover and show that the study suits them, but they don’t have to be afraid of being kicked out of the study because they happen to be less good in one propaedeutic subject.
In order to achieve this, we have indicated through formal and informal channels the problems that first-year students (may) encounter to the Executive Board. In addition, our USC member Bart Zonneveld has written an open letter to the rector in order to clarify our vision. This letter has been published in the Vox and can be read at voxweb. As a result of the open letter there has been a conversation with the rector. Although the official decision-making has yet to take place, the rector seems somewhat willing to take more flexible measures.
Partly because of the efforts of AKKUraatd, the BSA has been lowered this year. This was also successfully achieved through a national initiative in which all student councils called on their Executive Board to lower the BSA.
Here’s what we are going to doAKKUraatd will work hard in the coming months to fight for a flexible BSA scheme. We will discuss this with the Rector Magnificus of the RU (Han van Krieken), but also guarantee the rights of students on a subject like the BSA. At the very least, we want to make sure that all students have had enough opportunities to show that the study suits them. Our ultimate goal, however, is a flexible BSA scheme in which students remain free to choose whether their study suits them and the university does not give a binding, but an urgent recommendation on the matter.
Financial compensation students
The corona crisis is hitting a lot of students’ wallets. They may run into financial problems, for example, due to study delays, fixed costs such as rent or loss of income due to the loss of an additional job. AKKUraatd believes that these students should be compensated. AKKUraatd is, therefore, working through the student union AKKU, the national student union LSvB and the national participation council ISO to achieve financial support for these students from the government. AKKUraatd does not consider the possibility of borrowing extra from DUO to be sufficient, because this ultimately leads to more debt. That is why we advocate that students should actually be compensated financially.
What does the current situation mean to me?
Are you financially affected by the consequences of the corona crisis? Then you can take the following steps depending on your situation:
- Loan adjustment at DUO
- The government has made it possible (retroactively) to borrow extra via DUO. This does, of course, mean that this will eventually lead to extra debts. More information can be found here.
- If your parents currently earn less, it is possible to apply for a supplementary grant based on your parents’ income this year. More information about the recalculation of your supplementary grant can be found here.
- Making a claim to profiling fund
- Students are entitled to financial support if they can reasonably be expected to experience a delay in their studies. At present, however, it is not yet fully clear what the rights of students in this area are. More information about the application can be found here.
- If you find yourself in an acute financial emergency due to the measures surrounding corona, you can claim a loan or gift from our university through the emergency fund. More information can be found here.
- More information about study delay compensation
- Check out this page of student union AKKU for more information about compensation for study delay.
What we've already achievedThe solution communicated by the government and Radboud University is additional borrowing from DUO. AKKUraatd does not find this a solution, but a postponement of the problem because it will saddle you with more debts. Moreover, international students cannot claim a loan from DUO. AKKUraatd believes that students are entitled to financial compensation from the profiling fund. This fund was set up with the aim of compensating students who, due to force majeure, are delayed in their studies or find themselves in an emergency situation.
The university and a large part of the USC did not want to promote this fund, for fear of too many applications from students. After long urging, both Radboud University and USC started to communicate the profiling fund as a possible way to get some financial compensation for the consequences of the corona-crisis. In addition, the university has plans to set up a special fund that can provide specific financial support during this crisis, also explicitly focusing on international students who have been affected by this crisis. In this way, there will be several options where students can go if they run into financial problems due to the corona crisis, without having to get into extra debt.
Here’s what we are going to doIn terms of financial compensation for the consequences of corona on study progress, part-time jobs or other matters, we have already made it clear in recent weeks that borrowing more is not a solution. Now all that remains is to raise awareness of the funds that students are entitled to if they are financially affected by the current crisis. In the coming period, we will, therefore, focus on better communication in this area.
AKKUraatd believes that Radboud University sets an example as an employer. Students who have recently worked hard for our university should not simply be left to the strict conditions of the Unemployment Act. We therefore advocate that students who work via Campus Detachering (CD) are somewhat accommodated by Radboud University, so that they do not suddenly lose their source of income completely. This could be done for example by guaranteeing students at least to continue to pay the average number of hours of the past 3 months for the coming period.
What does the current situation mean to me?
- If you work for CD, but due to the measures around corona you can’t do this anymore in the coming period, you can claim the Unemployment Act under strict conditions. More information about this can be found here.
What we've already achievedAKKUraatd has devoted itself the past few weeks to the students who work at our university via CD. Many students depend on their income from CD to make ends meet. However, a large part of them have not been able to work for them since April and therefore no longer receive an income. Although it is possible to apply for Unemployment Act, this is only possible under very strict conditions. Many employment agencies and other employers do pay students on the basis of the average number of hours of the past 3 months. Radboud University has already done something similar for the month of March. AKKUraatd advocates that our university will continue to do so in the coming months.
Here’s what we are going to doThe compensation should not only be expected from a good employer, it is even required by law in many cases. Because Campus Detachering ignores this law, we have joined forces with the union FNV and are now taking legal action against Campus Detachering.
After this process, we will continue to discuss Campus Detachering with the university. We want to know why Campus Detachering has been prolonging this process for a year now! And why does Campus Detachering only selectively provide information about security of income? We want the university to see student employees as real employees, not as handy helpers that you can put out on the street if you want. And we aim to make sure of this the coming months.
Do you have any questions or comments on corona-related topics?
- Take a look at this page of student union AKKU for an extensive overview of questions and answers.
- Mail other questions and or comments to USR@akku.nu