For Philippe, the laptop has become the only way to follow his biology and business classes from his parents’ home. As for 300,000 of his university peers in the Netherlands, the pandemic forces him to attend university remotely, away from classes and student social life.
“Life has become very boring. People at home are less motivated to continue their studies. By going to the classroom physically, you are more obliged to follow the classes, and even the teachers are more passionate about teaching in person” , says Philippe Dols.
A melancholy that can lead to depression
According to various surveys, currently students suffer from a lack of motivation, loneliness and stress. For Mrinal, who studies business at Maastricht University, studying at a distance is only part of the problem. This is joined by the absence of social life, especially after the closure of bars, restaurants and discos.
“One of the most important facets of university life is the social and festive aspect. And only when you run out of it do you realize how much it matters. Because we are not only talking about partying and having fun, but also about meeting people new, things that cannot be done now, “says university student Mrinal Gupta.
Mrinal’s friend, Joséphine, believes that the economic crisis caused by the pandemic also weighs on the psychological well-being of the students. “You don’t know which sectors of the economy are failing, which ones you can choose, how many jobs there are or what opportunities you really have before you, and that is something very stressful,” explains Joséphine Sundberg.
Not only students suffer the restrictions of Covid19. Teachers also have difficulty doing their work. “Just one day of online teaching takes a lot of energy. I usually teach two or three classes a day and do a little research work in the afternoon, but now at six in the afternoon I’m really tired. I can send a few emails, but Right now it is very difficult for me to concentrate to read or write, ”explains Patrick Bijsmans, associate professor at the University of Maastricht.
According to the rector of the University of Maastricht, this situation is causing a reduction in scholarships, which account for half of the university’s income.
“Everyone is focusing so much on teaching that the time we have left to apply to projects and scholarships is less and less, so I think we will notice it in the next two years. Now, of course, we have less dedicated income to postgraduate training or summer courses, so our services to students are really suffering from a financial point of view, “he clarifies.
Experts warn of the serious economic risk that hangs over higher education in Europe, so they ask governments to help universities mitigate the impact of the pandemic on staff, teachers and, above all, on students. students.