TU/e keen to introduce 12-hour timetable

“The current 10-hour timetable no longer meets our needs,” Rector Magnificus Frank Baaijens yesterday told the assembled members of the University Council. The strong growth in student numbers necessitates the switch to a 12-hour timetable, he believes. The introduction should take place in the third quarter of the coming academic year. In the coming weeks this issue will be discussed in several university bodies.

Rector Magnificus Frank Baaijens would have preferred to introduce the 12-hour timetable right at the start of the new academic year, but said that organizational issues made that unfeasible. “First we need to discuss this issue in several university bodies and departments and TU/e services must be given the opportunity to prepare themselves fully for this change,” Baaijens said. “An introduction at the start of the third quarter of the academic year 2017-2018 should be manageable.”The final decision must be taken in September, says Baaijens.

According to the Rector, a number of alternative approaches to the 12-hour timetable are currently under consideration. Broadly speaking, the start and finish times of an academic day will fall between 08.30 and 19.00 hrs. Baaijens said yesterday in the meeting with the University Council that these alternatives will be presented to the council members as soon as possible. There is still time for this issue to be added to the agenda of the last council meeting before the summer vacation, on June 19.

In early April at Wageningen University, which is also struggling to manage strong growth in student numbers, the 12-hour timetable was put forward as an alternative by the Executive Board. In the new structure, the lecture periods have been reduced from 45 to 40 minutes, and the 12 lecture blocks are scheduled between 08.20 hrs and 19.00 hrs. The breaks after every two lecture blocks have been shortened from 15 to 10 minutes.                                      

Neeltje Voesenek, member of student faction Groep-één, prefers to say little at about Groep-één's standpoint on this issue at the present time. "What I can say is that we hope that the lunch break, which is currently 75 minutes, will not be cut back to a half hour. We think it is important that students have enough time for extracurricular activities." According to Voesenek, the 12-hour timetable is a subject on which mainly Rector Magnificus Baaijens has been working. "Within the University Board Committee, which occupies itself with the Bachelor and of which Baaijens is a member, the timetable is also being examined - but we were not aware that the Rector planned to announce this intention at the meeting. We would like to have an informal discussion on this matter with the Executive Board as soon as possible. I expect this will take place in early June." Boudewijn van Dongen, chairperson of staff faction PUR, is not able to comment on the plan at the present time: "The members of the University Council heard about this plan only yesterday, so it is something we still need to discuss within the faction."

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