UR | Drastic decisions on the horizon
With the national and university elections just around the corner, it is important for students to know what is on the agenda concerning higher education. Their vote in the elections is important! In this article we highlight some key discussions held at the national political level. So here is some food for thought, and open questions we - as University Council - would like to have answered by our community.
The position of Dutch universities on the topic of internationalisation is unclear
Limited study spaces, pressure on the student housing market, and the increase of workload for staff are trends felt at almost every Dutch educational institute. These trends are mentioned in the letter that Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf sent to the Dutch parliament, outing the concern that the influx of (international) students should be controlled. In his letter Dijkgraaf vouches for the setting of a Numerus Fixus (maximum enrolments) for study tracks given in other languages than Dutch and that the Dutch language proficiency should be promoted. He also pushes for limited admission of non-EEA students (European Economic Area). This could for example take the shape of an emergency enrolment cap.
The topic of internationalisation is discussed often within the University Council, but is this the way to go? How do we safeguard the advantages to a diverse and international community, or the values within the local Dutch culture?
15 million euros from the government for wellbeing, do we have a say in what it is used for?
At the beginning of July, it was confirmed that 15 million euros would be budgeted by the government to improve student wellbeing in higher education. Together with this official announcement, came the National Framework on Student Wellbeing, written by students from many educational institutions in the Netherlands.
Now this may seem distant to you, however TU/e students do have a say in what is written down in such documents, and in how it eventually will be implemented. This is because our University Council has student representatives within ISO (Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg), one of the main composers of this framework.
Where do you think the money should go to?
Binding Study Recommendation to be lowered to 30ECTS
This one you might have heard of before. In May of this year, Minister Dijkgraaf released a letter on the topic of the Binding Study Recommendation (BSR). The letter criticised the effectiveness of the BSR in helping students find the study that is right for them, and the negative pressure it has on the wellbeing of students. On September 6th, this topic was declared controversial (it will not be decided on until after the elections)
What do you think of the BSR system? Is there a way to reform it in such a way that students are pressured less negatively by it?
What else has been a hot topic at the University Council?
As University Council, the opinion of every student at our university is important for helping us face the challenges ahead. So what is the community telling us?
People have questions about developments on campus: What can we or should we expect from a collaboration with ASML? How do I share my opinion on the opening times of buildings? How does TU/e reflect on the growth of the community etc.? Next to this, students want to be more involved in the student financial support regulations. Such that full-time student team members receive grants and that board members are entitled to more transparency on how the money is divided. On a more positive note, the introduction of the Confidential Contact Persons and support for wellbeing and social safety has had positive effects for students, so we as a Council know to continue building on this.
Sharing your insights is very important, and the codetermination bodies at our university are the groups of students and staff that have the position and power to do something with your input. These are the bodies you can contact:
- The Program Committee of your department: for input about your education (or educational facilities).
- Your Department Council: for matters not directly related to education.
- And if you have thoughts to share about university-wide matters, then contact members of the University Council
All these groups really value the input you have to share. However, we must admit that we don’t know how to reach our community better, but we hope that with this article, we’ve reached an interested audience of students and staff, however small the group may be. So if we did, then hi! Let’s have a chat about what you think :)
[Photo | nicoletaionescu / iStock]