Students have been toiling in attics rooms for months. This week, Fontys students finally saw each other again. Albeit in examination rooms. They’ve had a difficult time, with many cancelled classes, postponed internships, and no practical education.
Manon van Duijnhoven is an Applied Science student at Fontys. She rushes out of the school building when her exam’s over. She’s delighted to see her classmates again. “But I have a lung disease, and I have to keep people at a distance. That’s why I’m out of here so fast.”
It’s not just the months of closed school that made Manon face the facts. Finding an internship isn’t easy in this day and age either, she realised. “I registered with a company weeks ago, but have had no response yet.”
‘I might have to think of something else’
“Priorities seem to have shifted”. The waiting worries Manon. “If I can’t arrange that internship, I’ll have to come up with something else. Hopefully, that won’t cause any delays.”
“Because delays also mean extra costs. I’m going to have to come up with something,” she says. Luckily, the school is trying to help come up with ideas. Fontys can adjust its programme. That allows students who are faced with an internship failure or postponement to keep going.
The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on study progress is also Joep Houterman’s primary concern. He is Fontys’ chairman. “Our students are anxious about whether they’ll be able to finish their studies on time.”
‘Students are worried’
“They worried about when they’d be able to take their tests, or whether they can arrange internships. Fortunately, since this week, tests are up and running again. But the practical element, of course, characterises vocational education.”
“You, obviously, can’t do that online. You only see if a student is seriously delayed at the end of his studies. Some may have caught up by then,” explains Joep.
Applied Science graduate student, Nick Kamphuis’, delay wasn’t so serious after all. He was allowed to do the practical part of his graduation internship at school. Nick says, “I’m pleased with that because sitting at home did me no good”.
“The company where I’d have been doing my apprenticeship has been closed since March. If I hadn’t been in school, I’d have far bigger problems”.
Editor: Melinda Walraven