More Students from Africa Expected to Study in the Netherlands
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' admissions team has attended its first ICEF Africa conference online with education recruitment agents on the continent expecting more and more inquiries from students on studying in the Netherlands. Especially students from Nigeria are looking for alternatives to some of the English-speaking study destinations.
"This was the first time we joined ICEF Africa and it was definitely a successful event for us," said Lena Vandenbosch, Wittenborg's International Partnership Manager. The 3-day event saw the Wittenborg team attending 68 meetings in total. Countries represented were Algeria, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Wittenborg Staff Tell of Positive and Well-Organised Experience with Vaccination
Now that the Dutch COVID-19 vaccination programme is in full swing, we asked a couple of staff members who got the jab already - including Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng - what the experience was like, why it was important for them to do it and the level of service received.
Feng said she never had any doubts that she would take the vaccine once it became available as she has confidence in science and the way that the vaccine was developed, the rigorous standards it was held to and the fundamental research behind it. "The vaccine is the only way out of the current height of the pandemic and protecting others," Feng said.
Under normal circumstances, vaccines take years to develop, but scientists used prior knowledge to develop safe and effective vaccines in just under a year by simultaneously starting all the necessary steps - including animal testing, two phases of human clinical trials and manufacturing.
Challenging Situations Require Changes
Living in a fast-changing world, where technological development modifies drastically traditional business practices, has disrupted the labour markets on a global scale. Both employers and employees have had to change their mentalities about jobs, dynamising different job positions and aptitudes that emerged due to workforce and workplace changes, such as those caused by the current pandemic.
We are all tired of hearing “the pandemic this or that...”, “Covid19 here and there…”, but the truth is that Covid19 has caused a paradigm shift in how people work and how business gets done. As people are more adapted to studying or working remotely, and more sensitive about their health, more new job positions that did not exist before have emerged. Furthermore, several professional and interpersonal skills have become more important than others.
International Background Advantage for Keeping Peace in Mixed Student Accommodation
When Maria Acosta started as the new student housing assistant at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences back in November 2020, it was just as the second COVID-19 wave hit the Netherlands and many international students were back to online studying from their student rooms. As someone who has lived in many countries, equipped with a good understanding of what it means to be an international, Acosta was able to help students make their living conditions as pleasant as possible while they rode out the storm.
Testament to this are the many letters students have written praising her skills as housing assistant. One reads: "Maria is patient and someone who easily gains others' trust. She relates easily to students from a range of different backgrounds. She also makes sure that students understand and follow the rules as well as the health and safety requirements relating to Wittenborg accommodation."
Another says: "She handles every situation very calmly and is punctual, always with a smile and makes sure to interact with students, no matter how busy she is."
People in their 30's Able to Make Vaccination Appointment This Week
This week people in their 30's were able to make an appointment to get the vaccination - which makes for a large chunk of the staff at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences and even some students. Very soon all those above the age of 18 will be invited and vunderable teenagers 12 upwards will also be included.
Successful Trial in How Employees with Mental Health Issues can be Incorporated Leads to Government Funding
When you suffer from a mental illness, finding (and keeping) a job can be an uphill struggle. Luckily for these type of job seekers there are employers like Wittenborg's Raymond Rothengatter. Rothengatter's ICT company, Rayflex, took part in a trial to determine how job seekers with mental health issues can be integrated at companies. His company showed that, with a little tweaking, it can be done successfully. In fact, so much so that the government is now sponsoring 2,300 of these vacancies over the coming period.
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has been working with Rayflex for a few years, outsourcing some of its ICT needs to the company. Wittenborg's President, Peter Birdsall, said the institution is proud to work with an organisation that supports diversity in the workplace and is making an impact on society.
Rayflex's participation in the trial made national news in the Dutch media recently. It interviewed an employee at the Denter-based company, one David, who suffers from bouts of depression and ADHD.
Special interest in the new-launched post-master's programme
A general enquiry for potential applicants was the multiple-intake system, which characterises Wittenborg, as well as the application process for the study programmes. Although each programme may have some different requirements, the general application rules are a valid high-school diploma or a previous higher-education diploma (or subjects/grades transcripts), and a certificate of English language proficiency level equivalent to minimum IELTS 6.0 or TOEFL iBT 80 (for undergraduate programmes) and IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL iBT 90 (for postgraduate programmes). Likewise, prospective students wanted to know more about the different types of programmes available. Wittenborg offers over 20 bachelor's specialisations and over 15 postgraduate programmes and one post-master's programme.
Department of Education Backtracks after Wrongfully Informing Students of Fee Discount
The Dutch department of education (DUO) had to make a hasty backtrack after accidentally informing students at private institutions of higher education that they are entitled to a reduced study fee in the coming academic year as part of the government's response to COVID-19 and its effect on education in the Netherlands the past year. Students at public institutions are entitled to the discount.
However, the NRTO (Dutch Council for Private Universities and Institutions for Education and Training) is one of the bodies currently lobbying for this gesture of goodwill to be extended to students at private institutions like Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences. Parliament will debate the matter this coming Monday in the House of Representatives. Wittenborg is also sending out a letter this week in support of the proposal.
The Dutch government recently announced a couple of Covid-19 compensation measures. EU students will get a 50% discount on their normal tuition fees, while those outside the EU and EER who usually pay institutional fees, will get a discount of € 1,084 with the condition that they are enrolled in a "publicly funded programme”.
Spike in Number of In-Class Attendance
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended almost every facet of education all around the world. It has not just caused a move from classrooms to virtual environments, but it has brought along challenges in instruction, delivery and assessment methods, attendance and most importantly, human interactions. After more than a year of campus closing, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences reverted to its hybrid-teaching two weeks ago, permitting students to attend classes physically. However, unlike last year, where physical attendance was thin, lecturers have noticed a spike in the number of in-class attendance and participation.
Everyone to Be Fully Vaccinated in 3 Months - Minister
The Dutch government is confident that, when the new academic year starts in September, current safety measures around COVID-19, such as wearing a mask and keeping a distance of 1.5m will be a thing of the past. The minister of health, Hugo de Jonge, said in an interview over the weekend that this is a "realistic" scenario.
In addition, it is foreseen that every adult in the Netherlands who wants to be will be fully vaccinated by then, including international students. The government previously predicted that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will get their first shot by at least 1 July. This had to be slightly adjusted to mid-July as delivery of some vaccines was delayed.
By this week, almost 10 million vaccinations have been administered in the Netherlands and there has been a steady decline of new COVID cases and hospitalisation since the government's vaccination programme really started picking up steam from mid-May onwards.
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