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COVID-19: Wittenborg Receives First Batch of Self-Test Kits for Students and Staff

by Wittenborg News -

COVID-19: Wittenborg Receives First Batch of Self-Test Kits for Students and Staff


COVID-19: Wittenborg Receives First Batch of Self-Test Kits for Students and Staff

Students Can Now Test Themselves at Home after Ministry Distributes Kits at Universities

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has received its first shipment of corona self-testing kits, which will be available from this week to students and members of staff who want to take the test. Wittenborg will return to hybrid teaching in two weeks, on 17 May, which means lessons will be offered in-person as well as online. 

The Dutch cabinet announced at the start of April that it will make self-testing kits available to students and staff at universities as part of a wider introduction of these kits to society as a whole in the fight against COVID-19. The Netherlands intends to get everyone who wants to be vaccinated their first shot by at least 1 July – including international students.

Up to now, Wittenborg has received 1,375 kits. Vikram Athavale, coordinator of student support, facilities and student housing, said they will be distributed between Wittenborg's two campus locations in Apeldoorn and the one in Amsterdam.

COVID-19: Wittenborg Receives First Batch of Self-Test Kits for Students and Staff

"Each kit comes with a QR code which can be scanned to access the instructional videos compiled by the government on using the kits", Athavale said. So far, some have been distributed among members of staff who requested them and they will also be available to students.  

The ministry stressed that testing remains voluntary and institutions are not expected to play a role in controlling who tested and who did not before allowing students to attend classes. Aside from attending class one day a week, the government is also making an exception for exams, practical courses and providing support to vulnerable students. In addition, when students do attend classes in person, institutions are expected to ensure compliance to the usual corona measures, like keeping a distance of 1.5m and the wearing of masks.

Students and staff can do the tests at home and it will be their own responsibility to perform the tests correctly as well as informing the institution and the public health service (GGD) should they test positive, adhering then to government provisions for people who test positive.

Institutions are not expected to keep track of students who do the test, but they are expected to monitor the number of tests distributed. Though testing is voluntary, the ministry asked institutions to urge students and staff to get themselves tested at home. More information on using the tests will be made by the government soon.

WUP 5/5/2021
by Anesca Smith 
©WUAS Press

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Wittenborg MBA Student Opens Online Business-to-Business Food Shop

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg MBA Student Opens Online Business-to-Business Food Shop

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborg-mba-student-opens-online-business-business-food-shop.htm

Wittenborg MBA Student Opens Online Business-to-Business Food Shop

Practicalities of Importing to Europe a Struggle, says Indonesian MBA Student

It was with great pride that Wittenborg MBA student Linda Setiawati recently opened her own online shop, Tokopoint, selling Asian food supplies both to other businesses and directly to consumers. But she said her struggle to find information about the practicalities of importing to Europe points to a gap between what international entrepreneurs like her learn in theory and the realities of actually starting an import business.

Setiawati first came to the Netherlands in 2005 to do a bachelor's degree, went back to Indonesia in 2009 and worked for a while in the Philippines. She returned to the Netherlands in 2019 to do an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Wittenborg Amsterdam. "Although it is not hard to find a job in Indonesia, salary levels often do not reflect your education. I found that it is the university you attend which determines your salary. In Europe opportunities are better and more equal. That is why I decided to further my studies in the Netherlands."

A friend introduced her to the world of importing, which is how she started her business, registering it in 2019 with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. However, when it came to practical information about importing requirements, licensing and actually getting products to the Netherlands, she ran into a blank wall.  

"I wanted a proper importing business, not smuggling things into the country. I emailed and called many importing agents, business people and others in the industry who might have information, but got very little response - some did not even bother to respond. I found one agent who helped me get started, but I am still learning." She said as other international students learned about her endeavours she got countless enquiries about how she started importing, pointing to a need for this kind of information.  

Setiawati says that although there are many sellers of Asian food products in Europe, she felt they were often too expensive. Her business evolved in such a way that she got a lot of interest from resellers all over Europe, from countries like Italy, and she now focuses on other businesses as a target market.  

Eventually, a physical shop might be on the cards, but she says the pandemic made that more difficult. In terms of her studies, the pandemic made it easier for her in many ways, as during that time she also had a baby and could manage to balance her life as a mother of two, student and entrepreneur better from home than if she were to attend classes in person on a regular basis. She wants to graduate by July or October of this year.

WUP 03/05/2021
by Anesca Smith 
© WUAS Press


Wittenborg Entrepreneurial Students to Host 'Top Entrepreneurs' Free Masterclass in Amsterdam

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Entrepreneurial Students to Host 'Top Entrepreneurs' Free Masterclass in Amsterdam


Wittenborg Entrepreneurial Students to Host 'Top Entrepreneurs' Free Masterclass in Amsterdam

Masterclass for Graduates of Afterschool Programmes

On May 6th, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences will host a masterclass for graduates of two afterschool programmes in Amsterdam Zuidoost, Ala Kondre and Swazoom. The event, entitled ‘Top Ondernemers’ (Top Entrepreneurs), is designed for 16 to 24-year-old alumni who are interested in learning more about pitching, investing, and starting their own companies.

Participants will receive an introduction from three third-year Wittenborg EBA (Entrepreneurial Business Administration) students from the Amsterdam Campus. Each student will talk about their own journey to studying entrepreneurship in the Netherlands and what inspires them. Wittenborg lecturer Dr Isaac Acheampong will then give the group a presentation on start-up strategies and support for local entrepreneurs. In the afternoon, the participants will have a choice of one of three workshops: Investment and Wealth Psychology, Self-development and Pitching for Investors.

Wittenborg Entrepreneurial Students to Host 'Top Entrepreneurs' Free Masterclass in Amsterdam

Wittenborg MBA Finance Graduate to Conduct Workshop

One of the workshops will be provided by Wittenborg alumni Oluwafisayo Olajide, a recent graduate of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' Finance MBA Programme. Fisayo has more than five years of multifunctional and interprofessional experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit organisations, which makes him a wonderful candidate for training local youth.

Wittenborg is happy to provide support to regional supplemental education providers like Ala Kondre and Swazoom. Wittenborg lecturer Amy Abdou states, "Wittenborg is proud to work with local partners to broaden the scope of regional education initiatives that include themes such as entrepreneurship, open science, and technology education. We are pleased to be able to give back to the community where the Wittenborg Amsterdam campus is located and keep the practice of social entrepreneurship alive during the pandemic. It is more critical than ever that business universities become active players and innovators in the field of education."

WUP 1/5/2021
by Amy Abdou and Hanna Abdelwahab
©WUAS Press


Dutch Higher Education "Benefitting from Brexit"

by Wittenborg News -

Student Housing Providers in the Netherlands and Belgium Expecting More EU Students

While the Dutch government is expecting more international students in the next 6 years, housing providers are also preparing for higher occupancy of rooms in the next academic year - especially students from within Europe, since the country is expected to gradually open more over the summer as it ramps up vaccination against COVID-19.

The Pie News reports that at a recent Western Europe market update, organised by The Class Foundation, student accommodation providers and experts suggested that providers in countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium can expect an increase in occupancy from EU students in particular.

“What we see is that the Netherlands is benefitting from Brexit in the sense that Erasmus students who quite often go to the UK for the English language, now decide to go to the Netherlands,” Rienk Oosterhof, chief real estate officer at The Student Hotel, said.  

He explained that the country’s strong reputation, with universities teaching mainly in English, has resulted in the provider expecting real growth in international student applications.

At Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, the first 4-5 months of non-EU students' accommodation fees are included in their package fees. Students are allocated either an apartment or campus complex, sharing a common area and all facilities with other students, both male and female. After the package-fee period they are encouraged to find their own accommodation.  In the case of EU students, although they are encouraged to find their own accommodation, they can also opt for Wittenborg housing - depending on availability. More information can be found here.

Numbers recently released by Housing Anywhere in its international rent index suggest that rental costs of private rooms in European cities like Milan, Madrid, Turin, Rome and Berlin had all declined by more than 10% in Q1 of 2021 compared to the same time in 2020. “The roll-out of the vaccine is moving slower than the world had hoped. And that is slowing down the recovery of the rental markets. On top of that, we expect supply shortages to return once the lockdowns are lifted,” HousingAnywhere CEO Djordy Seelmann said.

WUP 29/4/2021
by James Wittenborg
©WUAS Press

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Impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on Student Numbers Still Unclear: Dutch Ministry of Education

by Wittenborg News -

Impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on Student Numbers Still Unclear: Dutch Ministry of Education


Impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on Student Numbers Still Unclear: Dutch Ministry of Education

Number of International Students in Netherlands Expected to Rise by 33% in Next 6 Years

The number of international students in the Netherlands is expected to rise about 33% in the next 6 years, according to estimates published this week by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. In general, the number of students expected to study in higher education is much higher than what the government anticipated - especially at research universities. The estimates serves as a foundation to determine the education budget.

According to the ministerial report, it is still unclear what impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on education in the coming years, including the effect of travel restrictions over the short term on students' decision to study abroad. The same uncertainty applies to Brexit with one of the questions being whether more students from the European Economic Area (EEA) will choose to study in the Netherlands instead of the UK and whether fewer British students will study in Europe now that they have to pay higher fees.

The estimation is a complex exercise which factors in things like the number of births - which has declined during the crisis - migration, economic growth and unemployment.  

At universities of applied sciences, international student numbers are expected to rise from 36,700 students in 2020 to 42,300 students in 2027 - an increase of about 15%. At research universities, the expected increase is even higher from 72,400 to 103,600 by 2027 - a rise of about 43%, which is 15% higher than initially expected.

Universities of applied sciences

Both students from Europe as well as non-EU students are expected to increase in numbers in the coming years. In 2020, there were 24,800 EEA-students doing a bachelor's (or associate degree) at a university of applied sciences - 3% higher than was expected. There were 8,700 non-EEA students - only 0.6% less than what was expected.  At master's level, there were 2,100 EEA-students – 11.7% more than what was expected, while non-EEA student numbers were 1.2% less than expected.

Research universities

In 2020, 32,300 students from the EEA did a bachelor's degree at Dutch research universities – 8.2% more than what was expected, leading to the ministry having to adjust its predictions for the next 6 years. Among students from outside the EEA there was even an increase of 12.1%. About 20,600 EEA students followed a master's programme at a research university over the same period – 6.9% more than what was expected. At the same time 9,700 non-EEA-students did a master's at a research university - 4.3% less than anticipated.

WUP 26/4/2021
by Anesca Smith
©WUAS Press


Netherlands Starting to See the Light at the End of COVID-Tunnel

by Wittenborg News -

Netherlands Starting to See the Light at the End of COVID-Tunnel


Netherlands Starting to See the Light at the End of COVID-Tunnel

Shops and Restaurant Terraces to Re-Open as more COVID-restrictions Eased 28 April

The Netherlands is slowly but surely re-opening after a long period of lockdown which saw higher education move almost entirely online. From next Wednesday, April 28,  the government will finally relax some of its corona measures, like the re-opening of restaurants and shops - albeit it under certain conditions.

The announcement was made this week by the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte. The controversial night curfew which currently runs from 10 p.m. - 4.30 a.m. will also fall away on the morning of the 28th.  Rutte called the gradual reopening of the country a "balancing act". People are still encouraged to work from home, travel as little as possible and keeping to the basic COVID-rules such as regularly washing of hands and keeping a distance of at least 1.5 m. The most important changes from 28 April are:

Restaurants

The curfew will be lifted on 28 April at 4.30 a.m.

Visitors

After April 28 you can welcome two guests per household instead of one as is currently the case.
Measures to stay in place until at least 11 May are:

  • Museums are closed
  • Gyms are closed
  • Cinemas are closed
  • Zoos are closed
  • Casinos are closed
  • Theatres are closed
  • Theme parks are closed
  • Wearing of masks inside all indoor public spaces and public transport modes

WUP 24/4/2021
by  James Wittenborg
©WUAS Press

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COVID-19


Sustainability: Selling Coffee Cups from Recycled Coffee Grounds

by Wittenborg News -

Sustainability: Selling Coffee Cups from Recycled Coffee Grounds

https://www.wittenborg.eu/sustainability-selling-coffee-cups-recycled-coffee-grounds.htm
Sustainability: Selling Coffee Cups from Recycled Coffee Grounds

Wittenborg Students Help Apeldoorn Company Design a Marketing Plan

A group of students from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences recently did a project on a local business from Apeldoorn, You Lucky Bird, which reduces waste by selling coffee cups made from re-cycled coffee grounds. The students drew up a marketing plan to help the company launch a new product line: making orange juice bottles from waste orange peels.

The international student group who did the research consists of Kyle Holtzhausen, Rongai Torongo, Inga Natchkepia, Cem Albala, Sohara Patabandige and Mulenga Shebani. It served as an exam assignment for the "Marketing Plan" module taught by lecturer Bob Dyson. "During this module the students had several meetings with the management of the company, including one (Corona proof) face-to-face meeting at Wittenborg, in which all members of the group were present either in person or via video link," Dyson said.

The company was founded by Paul Van der Hulst, who is already an expert in the coffee industry. The coffee cups they make is created from coffee waste. The main vision of the company is to present the world with a circular mindset - a circle that reduces organic waste and simultaneously supports people in underdeveloped countries.  

"You Lucky Bird currently offers an excellent alternative to wasteful coffee cups," the Wittenborg group writes in their final report. "Most businesses with industrial coffee machines use single-use coffee cups. Takeaway coffee aside, the average office worker drinks approximately 1,000 cups of coffee annually. Although many of those coffees will be in a clay or glass cup, up to half could be from disposable cups, which is not sustainable.  

"Not only is this important to engage in on a personal level, but looking at organisations as a whole, companies strive to be evermore eco-friendly and, if so, one of the many simple ways to do so is to reuse coffee cups with the added benefit of ethically contributing to the source of where the coffee product originally came from. You Lucky Bird does so by contributing a portion of its profits to education and a better standard of living in Ethiopia. The strength here is a powerful story that ethically enriches."

In terms of weaknesses, the report reads: "You Lucky Bird is the definition of an eco-conscious company, which is one of its biggest strengths, but the reason it is also a weakness is because it adds a few challenges to processes, such as transport. Ideally, no gas should be used at all, with a minimum carbon footprint, but on a B2B order of a few thousand cups it becomes very difficult to avoid a van or truck. At this point customers are given the choice of bicycle delivery or standard post which removes the responsibility of choice from the company but unfortunately sustainable transport solutions are few and far between and costly.  

"Public backlash is a very fast disintegrator of some of the best intentions. Anything that might contradict the well-intended message of sustainability can result in the demise of the product or even company."

Aside from playing an important role in reducing waste material, another opportunity pointed out by the team is the fact that the company is Dutch and one of the advantages of the Netherland’s political landscape is its membership of the EU. "Due to this, the company has opportunities to easily export its products to other EU member countries, as the European Union has regulations with regards to free trade, travel and more. The only important consideration here is how to do so sustainably."

The new concept product of You Lucky Bird is a bottle structured by orange peel waste.  

"The idea of creating a circular juice bottle made of orange peel waste is one with few risks and much promise. Not only is it unique in material and design but also involves good ethics and practicality. From a financial standpoint, initial investment is high because of dye cost and design processes, but for a supply based on demand product where demand already exists, the writers of this report suggest it is a feasible investment for You Lucky Bird.

"Increasingly more companies are using marketing storytelling in order to help customers learn more about a brand and its products. You Lucky Bird has an interesting story that can encourage customers to buy their products. The main goal of the company is to make the planet better instead of focusing on profit. In order to increase literacy levels in countries where the product originally comes from, You Lucky Bird is currently already financing the education of children in Ethiopia and other undeveloped countries. Moving forward with oranges, farms in South America, Africa and Asia are all potentially new projects to take on. The main goals and intentions of the company create a positive change not only for the consumer but on every level of the process. With this at its core, the brand image and company's story are the main points of marketing and attracting customers."

WUP 22/4/2021
by James Wittenborg
©WUAS Press

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Research: How Well are Students with Learning Difficulties Supported at Dutch Universities?

by Wittenborg News -

Research: How Well are Students with Learning Difficulties Supported at Dutch Universities?

https://www.wittenborg.eu/research-how-well-are-students-learning-difficulties-supported-dutch-universities.htm

Wittenborg MBA Graduate Looks at Extent of Inclusion at Dutch Universities

Wittenborg MBA Graduate Looks at Extent of Inclusion at Dutch Universities

To what extent are Dutch universities equipped to support students with learning difficulties? This is one of the key questions Wittenborg MBA graduate Hien Nguyen examined as part of her final graduation assignment. The scope of her research included 11 universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands where she conducted interviews with people who work in the management of support services at the different institutions.

Nguyen was a senior student advisor at RMIT University, Vietnam, before coming to the Netherlands to do an MBA in Education Management at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences.

Her findings point to the critical role international laws and regulations play in the support services system, the importance of collaboration and communication across internal stakeholders and the difference in service quality provided by different stakeholders. "The research also found that, while aligning with the international regulations in practice, there is a current trend towards pro-activeness in the support systems of these institutions," she writes.

Inclusive education has been the focus of education in the 21st century, as emphasised in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Also, in the Netherlands more and more attention is given to the concept of diversity and inclusiveness in education. In fact, Wittenborg itself has built its reputation on three fundamental pillars: internationalisation, diversity & ethics.

The facilities supporting students with learning difficulties that Nguyen has found at Dutch universities include quiet zones, financial support, extra support during examinations, extra study support to deal with stress, anxiety, time management as well as peer support programmes. These facilities and services allow students to seek support from different stakeholders, such as academic advisors and student counsellors (as a first point of contact), also doctors and psychologists as well as technical teams.

Nguyen pointed out that two of the universities she visited did not offer any special support for students with learning difficulties, but managers were confident that they could handle students' cases on an individual basis.

She also found that there is a shift from physical to digital support services in an effort to create equal accessibility, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many universities to go online or hybrid. For instance, all the workshops, training sessions and social networking events, as well as lecturing and consultations, have largely moved online.

Concerns were raised about unclear guidelines in government policies, leaving it to the universities to interpret them, leading to some confusion about implementation. However, there were consistencies between the two parties' vision of institutional culture: maintaining a multi-cultural and open mindset, creating a welcoming environment where every student has equal opportunities to develop their minds and talents.

Participants in the research highlighted the importance of creating a supportive and caring environment. The common vision among all the universities was that every student who is capable of learning has the right to develop their talents and, therefore, universities need to offer what students require for their studies.

WUP 20/4/2021
by Anesca Smith
©WUAS Press

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Wittenborg Launches First Living Labs Session for its Erasmus INFURI Project

by Wittenborg News -

Wittenborg Launches First Living Labs Session for its Erasmus INFURI Project

https://www.wittenborg.eu/wittenborg-launches-first-living-labs-session-its-erasmus-infuri-project.htm

Wittenborg Launches First Living Labs Session for its Erasmus INFURI Project

Wittenborg Hosts Living Labs Session

Wittenborg’s 2nd Erasmus+ Project “INnovation in the FURniture Industry in the Era of Circular Economy (INFURI)” is in full swing. As part of the project activities, Wittenborg will be hosting two upcoming Living Labs sessions with external stakeholders in the coming weeks. One session will be with furniture manufacturing SMEs and the other with furniture end users. The INFURI project was officially launched in February this year (Read the article here) and involves 6 other European countries. The aim of the project is to spread innovative and sustainable circular business models in the furniture industry with the focus on SMEs. 

Living Labs will consist of a user-centred, open-innovation ecosystem, operating in a territorial context and integrating concurrent research and innovation processes in a private-public-people approach. The purpose of the Living Labs session or the ‘co-creation’ session with end users is to demonstrate how circularity can be integrated in furniture products from the end-user’s perspective and to identify the key aspects related to the circular economy. More specifically, it is to identify potential design improvements in a selected furniture type with a particular focus on functional innovations (services) that can contribute to circular economy.

Wittenborg Launches First Living Labs Session for its Erasmus INFURI Project

Hosts Excited About Event

For furniture and end-users, the Living Labs session will be held on Thursday, 29th April, 2021, from 19:00 to 21:00. The session will be hosted by Wittenborg’s CEO, Maggie Feng and EU Project Coordinator & Junior Researcher, Aydan Ismayilova. Excited about the event, Ismayilova said,” The project has already drawn attention of the local furniture manufacturing community. In addition, our event with end users will be a great opportunity to explore the perspective of the end furniture users. The session will serve as a perfect platform for customers to share how they see the integration of circularity in furniture products, as well to contribute to the design of a more sustainable and eco-friendly product”.

Interested parties can register via the online form here. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the number of participants is strictly limited and it will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

WUP 18/4/2021
by Hanna Abdelwahab
©WUAS Press

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New Study Reveals Block Teaching Improves Student Results Dramatically

by Wittenborg News -

New Study Reveals Block Teaching Improves Student Results Dramatically

https://www.wittenborg.eu/new-study-reveals-block-teaching-improves-student-results-dramatically.htm

New Study Reveals Block Teaching Improves Student Results Dramatically

Research Backs Wittenborg's Choice to Teach Students in Block System

An Australian study has found that teaching students in "blocks" - as at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences since 2006 - improves students' results significantly. The study was done at Victoria University and came out a few months ago. The method involves teaching units sequentially in blocks of several weeks instead of delivering multiple subjects simultaneously in semesters.

According to a report in the weekly Times Higher Education (THE) undergraduates' results improved by an entire grade, transforming credits into distinctions. The benefits were strongest for subgroups at risk of performing poorly, including the economically disadvantaged and students with little prior education or modest results.

Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, said the study results are "really good news. We designed our programmes according to the block teaching method in 2006 and it has been a tremendous success. All our master's programmes are also designed like that and this research proves that we are right."

The study found that business students also thrived in block mode, but while all groups performed better than under traditional teaching patterns, the advantages were less pronounced for arts and education students, while older and part-time students benefitted only about half as much as their younger and full-time peers.

According to the THE report, Victoria University introduced block teaching for all first-year undergraduates in 2018 as an experiment and is now extending it to other course levels. Research into the block mode found that it has been adopted at other institutions, typically small liberal art colleges, and Victoria is believed to be the first to analyse block teaching across a relatively large cohort.

It is not clear why business students in particular seem to flourish in the block environment, but the key is thought to lie in the intensity of the teaching.

WUP 16/4/2021
by James Wittenborg
©WUAS Press


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