Half of Dutch universities are still struggling with empty lecture halls after Covid

Almost half of Dutch universities still have lecture halls that are emptier than before the coronavirus pandemic, reports NOS after surveying higher education institutions in the Netherlands. Even after Cabinet removed all Covid-19 measures, many students are still opting for distance learning out of convenience or necessity.

Universities that reported that fewer students are attending in-person classes hope to improve this situation in the next academic year. Radboud University has emphasized the importance of the social aspect of studies. Students learn from and through each other, and in-person education is essential for that, the university said.

Tilburg University hopes that coeducation will encourage students to come to campus. The university will offer online training as well as “activating” and “in-depth” training on campus. The University of Utrecht will give professors the possibility of giving lessons only in person.

Other universities said most students returned to campus after coronavirus restrictions eased. TU Delft offers many practical trainings and reports a high participation rate. In some classes, the physical presence of students is also mandatory. VU University Amsterdam said students quickly found their way back to lecture halls once it reduced online teaching. Speakers also went the extra mile to highlight the added value of coming to campus.

Angela C. Hale