Foto: Guus Staats
international

This is why these UvA protestors have gone on strike

Redactie Folia,
15 maart 2019 - 14:28

Today, Friday 15 March, all sectors of the education system have gone on strike. Folia asked some of the protestors to explain why.

Malou Sprinkhuizen (21), biomedical sciences

 

Why are you striking?

‘Teachers have to work increasing amounts of overtime, earning less while doing more. And things are getting worse. Teaching is no longer an attractive profession and this is dangerous. The situation must change and the government must take the lead. The Dutch education system is great because it’s accessible. We need to keep it that way.’

 

Is implementing change a responsibility of The Hague or the UvA?

‘Both. The UvA must also make changes. The UvA board has make different choices so there is more money available for education and research. Some faculties have much more financial reserves than necessary.’

 

Do you think the strike will help?

‘I hope so. If not, we need to strike more often or take more drastic measures, like when we occupied the Ministry of Education, Culture & Science. D66 has always said they are an education party, but now we have a D66 minister and what do we get? Budget cuts. D66 has lied to everyone.’

Hanna Blom (21), European studies

 

Why are you striking?

‘For more investment in education. Courses are being merged and students have fewer lectures. Emphasis is increasingly put on efficiency of education when it should be on quality. Quality of education is on the decline.’

Is implementing change a responsibility of The Hague or the UvA?

‘Both. The UvA needs investment, but it also needs to be clear about what role it plays in society and what its responsibilities are. The university facilitates the protest, which is nice, but it’s not enough. The university needs to be a place where people can think freely and critically.’

 

Do you think the strike will help?

‘I don’t think anyone expects the minister to say “You’re right, here’s some money,” but today will go down in history. There’s never been a strike across the whole education system. And maybe it’s just the beginning. We will continue to strike until someone listens.’

Gijs van Donselaar (62), philosophy teacher

 

Why are you striking?

‘For my students. The strike is about the under-financing of academic education. I have to deal with the consequences of this every day. An example: we were forced to reduce the hours for propaedeutic working groups from 2 x 2 hours to 1 x 3 hours a week because there was not enough money. Students are significantly less well prepared for the continuation of the study. In the masters, we wanted to maintain the breadth of study, but again, hours have been limited and 12 etcs modules have been halved to 6 etcs. Another loss of depth.’

Is implementing change a responsibility of The Hague or the UvA?

‘Education is being neglected in The Hague. Apparently the only thing worth any money is the ever-expanding level of government, managers, supervisors and external consultancy firms.’

 

Do you think the strike will help?

‘It will definitely not help if we don’t strike. We are prepared to fight. To be silent is to have no self-respect.’