As mid-semester exams approach and the cramming begins, students are left to choose how best to spend their precious tuition free week, with many saying they need more time. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Guild, who are leading the charge to regain what was lost.
“We’ve been trying to put pressure on the uni to go back to the old model with two tuition free weeks,” Guild President Dylan Botica says.
In the past, Curtin has had two separate tuition free weeks during the semester which gave students some breathing room, but it was reduced to one and moved to the middle of semester to make room in the calendar for the summer study period.
Since then, Dylan says, “we’ve seen falling student engagement with extracurriculars and clubs.”
“When we’ve surveyed students, they’ve said they’re more stressed now than they’ve been in the past, and they don’t feel like they have enough time to complete their assessments as well as actually attend class and learn what they need to learn”.
Connor, a third-year chemical engineering student, and one of Dylan’s constituents, suggests the Easter long weekend at the start of the tuition free week shortens the amount of time available to catch up due to the family obligations the holiday demands.
He thinks it would be better to break the semester up into 4- or 5-week blocks and for the two tuition free weeks to return.
Vishan, a full-time student who still does between 20-25 hours of work a week at Curtin’s very own George’s Kebabs, says he would love two tuition free weeks.
He says the full-time workload is stressful and he’s thankful for the Easter long weekend and tuition free week as, “it gives me more time to work on projects and other units that I’ve got backlogged.”
However, for some degrees, such as screen arts, the tuition free week is the only time all members of the ever-dreaded group assignments can collaborate in person as their schedules free up.
“Last year doing major production there were so many classes I skipped because I was filming,” says Claudia, a third-year screen arts student, who is one of the many students aiming to take advantage of the ‘break’ to catch up on assignments.
“I’m glad that I don’t feel guilty about missing classes to work on this,” she says.
As the guild continues to put pressure on Curtin to address the feedback from students, Dylan questions whether it would be such a bad thing to give students another week off.
“There’s a diverse range of students here, giving them an extra week doesn’t sound like much time, but it does mean either get an extra week with your kids, or an extra week to pick up work, or an extra week to catch up on assignments,” says Dylan.