Student representatives call for help with workload


Students in Antwerp and Ghent have said that representatives have too much to deal with and are struggling to combine the responsibility with their academic work

More support needed

Many student representatives are unable to combine their studies and their work as a representative because their workload is too great. In an op-ed for De Morgen, Ghent University student Lorenzo Ego (pictured) has called for more support, including financial, based on advice from the Flemish Education Council (Vlor).

Ego says that student council tasks are becoming increasingly difficult as representatives have to attend monthly meetings and prepare files. At the same time, students also have more interim exams and group assignments, making it very difficult to combine the two roles.

Anaïs Walraven, president of the student council at Antwerp University, said there was a shortage of volunteers in some faculties. “As a result, student representatives have to take on double mandates,” she said.

Ahead of a discussion with education minister Hilde Crevits in July, Vlor has formulated several recommendations on the topic, including pay for student representatives.

Flemish MP Ann Brusseel of liberals Open VLD rejected the suggestion in parliament. “If students don’t want to take on the challenge, they should play tennis instead of getting involved,” she said.

Ego pointed out the importance of infrastructural, financial and administrational support for student representatives. “It’s not just basic things like being able to miss obligatory lessons that are crucial – it’s also the remuneration of expenses, logistics and ICT facilities,” he said.

Photo courtesy Lorenzo Ego/Flickr