The new leaders of the two Dutch student unions both come from the University of Groningen. The two students, Larissa Pans and Erik van Buiten, will have a full time job in the coming year in order to negotiate with education minister Jo Ritzen. The main item on the agenda is the proposed cutbacks to the public transport pass for students. We know we are right in our protest, explain the students, but we may have to settle for a compromise. They also complain about the straitjacket students are forced into by having to hurry through their courses and take a job to finance their study. They are compelled to go after credit points, which has nothing to do with academic training. Education should be based on curiosity, says Van Buiten
The university has started a risk-inventory and evaluation of the working conditions in its departments. The first department to be examined, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, has problems ventilating its laboratories. Students are supposed to wear protective clothing and glasses during their practical work, but there are no regulations to enforce this. Kees Koenders, administrator of the department, was surprised about the list of bottlenecks. The department building was renovated two years ago. Can you imagine what other departments will face when they have to improve working conditions.
Eight students from the University received the C.T. de Wit thesis prize last week for writing a paper of excellent standard during their study. Some of them are continuing as PhD students, others have not graduated yet. Their opinions of the education at the university differ: one thinks it is too much like school, another didn't like exams where he only had to learn by heart, a third one is not satisfied with the tutoring. Fortunately they can use their creativity in science, the students explain