‘Remuneration for participation must be same everywhere’

Why does a student on the participation council get more remuneration at one institution than at another? National guidelines are needed to change this, in the view of GroenLinks and the PvdA.

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Via the participation councils of higher education institutions, students and staff can take part in decision-making and in giving advice on important issues such as the education policy and the budget. But interest in this has declined over the years and there is inadequate support.

It certainly does not help that the remuneration for the work on the participation council varies from one educational institution to another, GroenLinks and the PvdA write in a jointly proposed motion. As a result, some participation council members are receiving really low remuneration for their efforts.

They are asking the Education Minister “to draw up national guidelines, in consultation with the student organisations and the umbrella organisations for institutions, for the remuneration of participation council members”.

More balance needed

Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf stated during a brief debate that he is open to this. “Obviously, we’re talking about a general problem, namely that we have the instruments but that participation will only work properly if there’s sufficient interest in it”, he said.

Educational institutions currently have a lot of room to offer tailor-made solutions and, if it were up to the Minister, that will remain possible. “But I think we need to get a better balance in the system. The proposal for national guidelines seems to me a good instrument”, said Dijkgraaf.

Exemption for tuition fees

In another motion GroenLinks and the PvdA asked the Minister if he could check why students who are active full-time on the participation council do not always get an exemption for tuition fees.

It is “in fact up to the institution” to decide whether that will happen, was the Minister’s response. But he could also “see no good reason” why they would not do so. He was willing to remove any obstacles where possible. Voting on both motions will take place on 10 May, after the recess.

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