AAU is one of Prague’s few private universities, and it certainly reminds us of that through its high tuition fees. While one of AAU’s highest annual expenses is the rent of the university building, it is questionable whether it provides its students with all they need.
When new students come to AAU, they are stunned by the luxurious entrance of the main building with half-naked cherubs and a large chandelier. Soon however, they learn the truth about the lacking qualities of the facility.
Although the main building and library are located in the heart of the city, AAU’s campus is also adjacent to a major tram stop. It’s not unusual for students to be taken aback as to why the projectors slake as if they’ve had an epilepsy, considering they work at all due to the intense vibrations and wire connection issues caused by the trams’ close proximity. What’s more, many windows cannot be opened during classes due to the excessive noise produced both by the trams and the various tourist groups.
On top of that, AAU’s classrooms have no means for air-conditioning and rarely have fans. On hot days, students zone out in their classes due to the intense heat, dense air quality and closed windows because of the tram noises. Consequently, students must choose between two undesirable conditions: learning in a room with sauna-like temperatures or struggling to hear lectures over the hustle-and-bustle of central Prague.
Thirdly, while the classrooms have a palace-like ambiance – thanks to fireplaces, large mirrors, wooden floors, chandeliers and IKEA furniture – their acoustics are not up to par. Without any acoustic treatment in the rooms, there is no relief from echoes. A student moving a screeching chair can deafen the room from the echo and disturb the discussion. The echo is also problematic when professors give lectures, making their speeches difficult to understand, especially for those students seated in the back rows.
Finally, AAU does not provide students with a lounge where students can work and study 24/7. Many universities have this, but not AAU. The opening hours of both the library and the main building are limited; if the purpose of a university is to encourage learning and discussion, why does AAU put a limitation on that by closing off its campus to students? AAU could simply designate a room, such as the one next to the Café des Taxis, as a 24/7 study room and equip the door with an ID card lock so only AAU students can access it. It cannot be more difficult than adopting an E-Learning portal like ISIS.aavs.cz.
Despite the current challenges, there is no doubt that AAU has improved its facilities since it moved to its new campus in 2015. The water coolers are one such improvement, and even if at times they are not being refilled often enough, as Czech people say, “It’s still better than being poked in the eye.” While many may complain about the café’s prices and quality, it is still better than not having any café at all, as was the case at the old campus. Additionally, the new building provides internal heating, which the old campus lacked.
AAU has clearly experienced a period of improvement since its move in 2015; however, this should not limit or slow down its efforts for further progress in the future.
Photo courtesy of Chau Nguyen
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily represent the stance of the Lennon Wall staff or Anglo American University.