The Wageningen student council received a lot of complaints from students about shortages of space and supervision. ‘During practicals people sometimes have to wait a quarter of an hour because there are not enough teachers for a big group of students,’ says Karlijn Hendriks of the Student Council. The council sees this as evidence that the growth in student numbers cannot be adequately absorbed.
Student numbers at the three technical universities and Wageningen University – united in 4TU – have grown enormously in the past few years. The funding of the universities has not kept pace, claim the student representatives of 4TU and the Intercity Student Council (ISO) in an open letter to minister Bussemaker (education, culture and science), minister Kamp and state secretary Van Dam (both economic affairs). The students want extra funding to cater for the growth and prevent the need for enrolment caps. The lower house of parliament has already supported this idea.
The Wageningen student council is concerned about the situation at WUR. ‘We hear a lot of complaints. The library, for instance, is now overcrowded during revision weeks. Students say there is no space left ten minutes after the library opens,’ says Hendriks. Enrolment caps are not a good solution, says the Student council. ‘Education should be accessible to all. We want to go on standing up for that principle as a student council, says council member Ties Terlouw.
The executive board has done its best to find funding to deal with the growth, says the Student council. ‘The problem is government. We need buildings to solve the space problem but on the funding we get at the moment we can’t build. To keep classes small you need enough space. Students come to Wageningen specifically for the small classes and good quality education, but now they are coming up against all sorts of problems,’ says Hendriks.
More space in the Forum library
The Forum library will be renovated thoroughly in the summer of 2017 to create space for about 200 more work stations. Offices on the third floor will be taken out. The staff working there now will move to the first and second floors. Additionally about half the bookcases will be taken out and the books will be moved into storage. The makeover is a response to complaints about lack of space and to digitalization, says Dannie de Kleijn. At present there are 500 work stations in the library.