Misbehaviour... what are the supervisory boards doing about it, inspectorate asks

The Inspectorate of Education is going to investigate the Supervisory Boards in higher education. Are they, for example, doing a good enough job monitoring social safety within their institutions?

photo TU/e

At the beginning of March, the Inspectorate of Education accused the board of Delft University of Technology of mismanagement in the area of social safety and three weeks ago, the Labour Authority criticised the working conditions at many more universities. Discrimination, misbehaviour and sexual harassment aren’t uncommon.

These examples demonstrate “how important monitoring is to bring malpractices to light when institutions do not succeed in safeguarding social safety”, writes outgoing Minister of Education Robbert Dijkgraaf to the House of Representatives.


Dijkgraaf therefore wants to reinforce monitoring in this area through the Labour Authority and the Inspectorate of Education, but he also wants to talk to the supervisory bodies at higher education institutions.

In any case, this summer the Inspectorate of Education will launch an investigation into the functioning of Supervisory Boards in higher education: what do they actually do and how effective are they? This will encompass more than social safety, says a spokesperson of the inspectorate.

Duty of care

To make monitoring of social safety more manageable, the minister is working on a statutory ‘duty of care’ for social safety in higher education. Such a duty gives the inspectorate a clearer frame of reference to intervene when the social safety of students is compromised.

At the request of the House of Representatives, he has also turned to the American Title IX civil rights law, which prohibits discrimination in education, for inspiration. Proper frameworks are of the essence, he says.

Maritime shipping

Without proper frameworks, it’s tricky to investigate social safety, a recent article about the Terschelling-based maritime institute of NHL Stenden by daily newspaper NRC shows. Three employees lost their jobs there based on several investigations into lack of social safety, but according to the judge none of these were any good. Colleagues tell the newspaper they are entirely in the dark and don’t know what the problem was exactly.

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