From September 5 to December 23, 2016 Wageningen University conducted a pilot with evening lectures to see if it can provide a solution to the capacity problem of the university. The pilot included 20% of students in either Period 1 or Period 2 one or two nights a week.
At the same time, the Wageningen Student Alliance (SAW) opened a hotline “evening lectures”. The SAW noted a lack of transparency and legitimacy in the establishment of the pilot: The working councils were not asked for advice or consent. It was, therefore, unclear whether teachers and students would be heard sufficient and whether their experience would be weighed along in the decision process. With the hotline SAW wishes to involve everyone and give them the opportunity to share their experience.
In total there are 199 meaningful reports received by the hotline evening lectures, most of the messages were posted by students who took evening lectures. 148 students reported that they where forces to skip broadening activities (reading, meeting, sports training, rehearsal, etc.). 43 students dropped a comment about the quality and effectiveness of the evening classes. 33 students were indirectly involved and experienced the disadvantages of evening lectures. Seven students made a positive report on the evening lectures. They indicated to spend the time usefully in the afternoon on other things and that they had no objection to evening college. Two teachers placed a message. They noted a difference in concentration between the afternoon and evening group and the low presence of the students during the evening box.
Some student organisations (educational, sports and student associations) wanted to explain their experience with evening lectures. These experiences seem to correspond to the messages that students made individually. According to them, the evening lectures had not only an effect on the enthusiasm for extra-curricular activities, but also the organisational abilities of student organisations has been put under pressure by the pilot. Student associations have found that evening classes leading to less effective education.
The Wageningen Student Alliance concludes that, despite the limited application of evening lectures, the broad development and student welfare was restricted during the pilot with evening lectures. The participating students were less often able to attend extra-curricular activities. Also, the organisational ability of student organisations was put to the test. There will be fewer activities organised by students if the evening lectures are introduced.
Finally, the SAW sees a lack of transparency in the University. The minutes of the various consultative bodies are brief and cryptic. Often refers to internal documents subject to secrecy because of unknown reasons. Therefore, it is unclear to students why the capacity problem could not be solved by alternatives.