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Less work pressure in a shorter academic year

29 September 2020

The Dutch academic year is a long one – remarkably long. Today, no fewer than 70% of the staff at Dutch universities feel that the work pressure is so high as to be unhealthy. Although additional funding remains necessary, we may be able to find part of the solution elsewhere, namely by looking at the length of the academic year.

Compared to other Western European countries – including Germany, Belgium, and the UK – and the United States, the number of lecture weeks and exam periods is high. A different approach, with fewer lecture weeks, blocks, and exams, would inject some oxygen into the system. It would mean more recovery time for both instructors and students, and less fragmentation of time and effort – and so less administrative work and stress. And that solution would be without any significant budgetary impact. A shorter academic year can go hand in hand with high-quality teaching and research.

It would also give instructors and professors a longer consecutive period to focus on their research, structurally improve their teaching, or work in some other way that is most valuable.

The Young Academy held discussions on this subject with various parties last year, and that exploratory study is now being elaborated. The Young Academy would very much like to hear what you think about a shorter academic year. Click here to let us know. Replies won’t be shown on the website but will be collected behind the scenes. You can reply anonymously, but you can also leave your contact details so we can perhaps send you feedback.

Thank you in advance.

Reply here

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