‘Nothing wrong with bsa at the RUG’
According to judges from the Appeal Tribunal for Higher Education (College van Beroep voor het Hoger Onderwijs, CBHO), universities are in massive violation of the law by adding further requirements for students after they have obtained a binding study advice.
The Higher Education Press Bureau (Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau) reports that the judges say an academic programme only has one chance to give such advice. If a student is informed that he or she can continue pursuing a degree, there cannot be any subsequent requirements following that decision.
The RUG, however, makes additional demands. If a student has been granted a positive study advice after earning three-fourths of his or her study credits, the student is also required to complete all first year courses within two years. If the student fails to achieve the propadeutic certificate for the foundation stage, then he or she can still be forced to stop studying. That means that the RUG effectively judges the students two different times, and the judges believe that should not be allowed.
Yet according to the university, there is nothing wrong with that. ‘The RUG obeys the higher education laws’, says Deekens. ‘We are of the opinion that we are interpreting this with regard to the bsa in a proper manner. There is no indication that the RUG should adapt its current policies.’
Nevertheless, the legal department of the RUG intends to keep a close eye on the legal opinions on the matter. The University of Leiden recently lost a case to a student who had been dismissed on such grounds and was opposed to an experiment to provide a bsa in the second year of study.
Leiden decided to call an end to the experiment following the ruling and criticism from its university council. ‘We will examine the ruling and determine whether we need to take further measures pertaining to the bsa’, Deekens says.
In any event, education minister Bussemaker has made known that she no longer sees the value of a bsa for second year students. A majority in the Lower House was already opposed to it and is now calling for the minister to explain what a first year bsa will look like in the future. Bussemaker says she will revisit the matter.