At the University of Bern, about 80% of the students are employed alongside their studies. Many of them would otherwise not be able to afford their studies, others gain experience for their future.
Study and work must be compatible!
Students who work still encounter many obstacles during their studies. Some study programmes are designed inflexibly and some lecturers lack understanding for working students. In many study programmes, it is especially the introductory year that poses problems for working students. Politicians' demands for restrictions on study time or higher fees threaten those who are dependent on a part-time job due to a lack of financial resources.
The scholarship system of the canton of Bern also disadvantages working students: Any salary above 600 francs per month is completely deducted from the scholarship so that students have nothing at all from their side jobs. This although the scholarships are usually just enough for a minimum subsistence level.
The SUB and the faculty student associations are committed to making it easier to combine work and study in the future. Our demands include flexible study arrangements and free choice, part-time programmes in highly structured courses of study, sensitisation of lecturers, no penalties for the length of study and a scholarship system that does not penalize working students.
Many students have to complete internships for their studies. These are weighted and organized very differently from study programme to study programme. For example, they can differ in terms of their function, duration, payment, weighting in the study program, etc. Internships are often poorly paid and can lead to precarious situations for students who have to finance their studies themselves. Even for financially weaker students, a compulsory internship must not become a threat to their graduation.
Even for financially weaker students, a mandatory internship must not become a threat to completing their studies. The SUB assumes that students who have to finance their livelihood completely by themselves need about 2000 francs per month. Compensation for a full-time internship must therefore not be less than 2000 CHF. Therefore, the SUB demands compensation of at least 2000 CHF for a full-time position for compulsory internships and a review of the employment conditions by the directors of the study programs, and support for students in salary negotiations with employers.
For mandatory unpaid short internships (in the range of a few weeks) within curricula, the SUB demands a uniform allocation of ECTS credits: The amount of ECTS points should be based on the effective workload and correspond to the standard value of 1 ECTS point = 30 working hours.
The student faculty representatives are to be treated by the programme directors and the faculties as experts in matters of internship experiences and knowledge of program-specific grievances (or even cases of abuse). A closer solution-oriented cooperation between the above-mentioned bodies is highly desirable.