The University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (HU) is going to spread their lectures better, so that less students and employees have to travel during rush hour. It is the first higher education institute which responds to the request of Education Minister Jet Bussemaker.
Photo: E. Dronkert
Until now educational directors wanted to hear little about the idea to adjust lecture schedules so that students did not have to travel in rush hour and that the government could thus negotiate with transport companies on cheaper student travel cards. The money that is saved, should benefit education.
But the HU has swayed. The third largest college has agreed, together with the province of Utrecht, that fulltime students will also follow lectures between five and seven o’clock in the evening. The lectures will also be spread across the year. They are considering the summer weeks, but also the autumn, spring and may holidays. Furthermore, the HU is investing in ‘blended learning’: more online education and supervision. In return the studies will receive a weekly schedule free day, where possible. On that day students will thus not have to travel at all.
All these measures do not only lead to a less busy rush hour in public transport (and cuts in the costs of the student travel cards), but also lead to a better use of the buildings of the HU. Meanwhile, of the 160 thousand square meter of floor area the HU has divested 32 thousand. In 2017 the HU expects to be able to function with a third less. Annually, this could yield ten thousand euro extra for education.
Minister Bussemaker is happy with the plans of Utrecht: ‘With this covenant the HU and the province of Utrecht show that it is possible. By working together to look at how buildings and public transport can be used more efficiently, you can save many millions. This money can then be invested in what is really important, quality of education.’
The participation council of the HU has already agreed with the plans, says a spokesman of the University of Applied Sciences. ‘We have already discussed this since 2008 on how you want to handle for example housing. We have already embarked on this path and this agreement with the province is an extension of it .’