News of the week 42

What's happened in week 42? Earthquake-proofing your office, HBO numbers down, student portal updates and more.

Earthquake-proofing your office

RUG employees received an email last week with tips for preventing injury or damage due to an earthquake. Suggestions for better organising cupboards, such as avoiding placing heavy books on the top bookshelves, were included. The RUG will begin an inventory of all university buildings, as well as suggesting measures for prevention.

Each faculty and university service will be visited by an externally-trained team which will inspect the furniture. An app is also being developed for filing damage reports. The Hanzehogeschool, UMCG and the municipality will be in communication to share their expertise with each other.

HBO enrollments decline

This academic year, 6,400 fewer students started a HBO (higher professional education) programme, a decrease of 6.6 per cent. Student organisations blame the new loan system, but Thom de Graaf, president of VH (The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences) does not consider it a huge problem following years of growth and believes other reasons are at play.

Student organisations and the Intercity Student Consult (ISO) fear certain groups will be excluded from higher education. The decline is compensated for by the increase of international students. Definitive enrolment numbers at the RUG are expected in October.

Student portal online in November

The new Student Portal, a combination of Nestor and MyUniversity, will be launched on 14 and 15 November. The launch was meant to occur this summer. Progress, Nestor, RUG information and schedules will be combined in the system. Users will have three tabs: Today, Study info and Career.

The Today tab will include schedules, emails and messages from the faculty and university. Study info will have university information and regulations, and Career is linked to NEXT Career Services. Students were thoroughly involved in the creation and testing of the new system.

Parties divided over Yantai friendship

Groningen city council wants to support the RUG’s plans to build a campus in China by establishing a friendship treaty with Yantai. This will help create close ties with the city, make Groningen more attractive internationally and is free, says Mayor Peter den Oudsten.

However, not all political parties agree with this decision: the SP, Stadspartij and ChristenUnie believe the city should reduce the number of friendship treaties with other cities. Partij voor de Dieren is against it for intensive farming reasons. A decision will be made during the municipal council meeting at the end of October.

No selection for economics & business economics

The Faculty of Economics and Business is putting a stop to the decentral selection for the programme economics & business economics (E&BE), as enrollments fell short of the limit of 300. Groningen and Maastricht are the only universities which use decentral selection for this academic programme.

Use of this system has led to a shrinking market share, says vice dean Boonstra. The faculty decided last year to make use of selection for all bachelor programmes in order to attract better students.

Bussemaker’s legislation unpopular

Education minister Bussemaker wants to address poor management at educational institutions with a new law aiming to prevent mismanagement by strengthening employee participation and obliging supervisors to file reports. However, her proposal was shot down by the parties in the House of Representatives who feel it is too superficial and will not change any of the fundamental problems in higher education.

Previously, the Council of State also made their dissatisfaction known: they fear that the reporting obligation could mean that supervisors and the board work against each other. Universities and student organisations are also opposed to the proposal.