In the last period of this academic year, two courses created for the Edu Challenge started. During the Edu Challenge students get the opportunity to create and later teach their own course. Robin founded the Edu challenge together with her class mate Sven. Robin just finished her Bachelor's in Philosophy in Utrecht and is active at Lijst VUUR in the University Council and local political party Student & Starter.
How did you and Sven come up with the Edu Challenge?
I did an exchange semester at University of California Berkeley last year and that is when I realised there is a big difference in how universities relate to their students. At Berkeley, there is a competitive environment, which isn’t always great. However, I did get the feeling that students are taken far more seriously. They strongly believe students are the future. This attitude is a great motivator and provides students with confidence. My opnion is that Dutch universities can learn a lot from this attitude.
Berkeley offers a programme in which students can create their own course, called DeCal. DeCal classes, in a nutshell, are legitimate university classes run by students. That way, students get involved at content creating level of education. Utrecht University already tries to involve students – there’s the student councils and boards, for example – but there’s still enough room for improvement, especially when it comes down to involving students in their own education. For my University Council application at VUUR, I had to come up with a plan for future improvements in education and that’s how Edu-challenge started.