University exams, lectures to continue as planned despite public transit strike

Hundreds lined up for busses, trams, subways, ferries, and trains at Amsterdam Centraal. 27 Nov 2017
Hundreds lined up for busses, trams, subways, ferries, and trains at Amsterdam Centraal. 27 Nov 2017. (Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times)

A number of Dutch universities and colleges plan to continue with their exams and lectures as usual on Tuesday, despite a nationwide strike in public transport. National students' union LSVb is furious that students may be forced to miss important lectures or exams through something that is completely out of their control. "We think it's really absurd", a spokesperson for LSVb said to NOS.

Union FNV expects that Tuesday's strike will bring virtually all public transport in the Netherlands to a standstill. "There are still a few places that aren't striking, but in general people will participate everywhere", a spokesperson said to the broadcaster. "Experience also shows that as the strike day gets closer, more and more carriers will join." A large part of the regional public transit companies announced last week that they will join NS and the city transporters in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague for the strike. And on Wednesday  the city- and regional transit companies in Utrecht and Gelderland also signed up, NU.nl reports. 

According to LSVb, various higher education institutions already said that they will not cancel their exams due to the strike. This includes the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and the Universities of Applied Sciences in Arnhem and Nijmegen. Leiden University said it will only cancel part of its scheduled exams.

"Some students have to come to study by public transport and cannot go by car or taxi. This is simply impossible", the union said, according to NOS. This is not only a problem for students who have to take exams, the union said. "At HBO, many lessons are compulsory. If you miss more than one, you will not pass the course. Some students were already unable to attend one due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances. Schools should take into account that students will not be able to attend on Tuesday."

Radboud University in Nijmegen will continue its lessons and exams as usual, De Gelderlander reports. As a solution to the transport problem, the university created the hashtag #radboudride, with which students and staff can request or offer a lift. Students can also request an extension at the university's Examination Board.

Leiden University canceled most of its exams, except those for the Faculty of Law. These exams can not be moved due to "organizational reasons", the institution said to Omroep West. "If you have an exam this day, you are expected to take measures yourself so that you are on time for the exam", the university said.

The University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht initially said it will continue as usual, tweeting: "Since the strike was announced well in advance, students are expected to be able to find a solution to possible problems in public transport." But later decided to cancel exams due to criticism. The university said it does not want students to become the victims of the public transport strike. "Therefore, it has been decided that the attendance obligation for our education will be canceled that day. Tests will be moved or can be re-taken."

A number of other Universities already announced that they are canceling exams on Tuesday. The buildings at Inholland will be open, but exams and compulsory teaching activities will be rescheduled. The Hague University of Applied Sciences moved important exams. The University of Amsterdam and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences postponed teaching activities. 

The public transit strike on Tuesday is for a better pension system, freezing the retirement age at 66, and letting people with physically taxing jobs retire earlier. Initially the public transit workers planned to join a national strike on Wednesday, but that would have meant that many striking people from other sectors would not be able to get to labor actions. The public transit sector therefore decided to strike on Tuesday instead. The strike will start at 5:00 a.m. and last 24 hours, according to FNV. 

 

 

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