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July 8, 2019 | by  | in News |
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The No Study Break Debacle: What’s It All About?

Recently, a suggestion from VUW to remove study break from  the mid-year exam period caused a lot of controversy. In case you saw it, but are still out of the loop, we’re here to help.


The whole proposal is part of a broader issue: the VUW Academic Board decided, in 2016, to extend Trimester 3 from 11 to 12 weeks, starting this year. This requires them to cut a week from the rest of the year to stitch onto Tri 3.


You may have noticed that this past trimester’s exam period was a week shorter than usual; this was one such (controversial) attempt to find a spare week. 


Another option put forward for 2021 by the university was to remove future lecture-free study weeks instead, in an attempt to prevent exam scheduling issues.


This is the suggestion that saw the recent backlash from students; the issue even made national headlines in The Spinoff


A VUWSA Facebook poll showed that 93% of respondents said a lecture-free study week was important to them. 


One student commented that the proposal was a side effect of the university “drumming up student numbers without providing the infrastructure to support them.” 


One comment suggested the university could “actually give a shit about the standard tertiary study year (i.e. March–Nov) and not let summer school run away with the time table and mess things up?”


Many commenters highlighted the ill effects a shortened study week would have on students. “[The study break] gives me time to regroup, de-stress, and study with a fresh outlook,” said one student.


Another said that “there will inevitably end up being cases where the people have all their exams in the first week without the necessary buffer of study week”.


^Salient reached out to the university for comment. Provost Professor Wendy Larner clarified that the removal of the study break, one of four suggestions in an Options Paper developed for university provosts, has now been dropped.  


Larner informed ^Salient that the remaining suggestions for the 2021 academic year and beyond will have regard to student and staff feedback, and asserted that the university’s Academic Board has strong student representation.

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