ANPStudents take an exam
The binding study advice must be overhauled. According to education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf, this advice, which obliges students to obtain the majority of their credits in the first year, causes a lot of stress for students who are already having a hard time. Within a few weeks he will send a letter to the House of Representatives. The education field is divided.
For many students at the university of applied sciences and university, it is a dreaded concept: the binding study advice (bsa). Most colleges and universities apply the standard that students must obtain at least 45 or even the full 60 credits of the first year. If they fail to do so, they will not be allowed to continue their education.
According to education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf, this standard is a source of stress for many students. “It comes up time and time again in conversations I have with students. Research also shows that the mental well-being of students is under pressure. This is partly because the reins have been tightened in education. That is why this cabinet wants the binding study advice to adjust.”
It is still unclear what exactly that adjustment will look like, but the minister says he will send a letter about the adjustment of the BSA to the House of Representatives “in the foreseeable future”.
‘Bsa ensures less delay’
Opinions are divided among educational institutions. The Association of Universities of Applied Sciences believes that universities of applied sciences should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to apply a BSA and a spokesperson for the Universities of the Netherlands even calls the BSA “essential for student well-being and success”.
“We see that the study delay from the first year is usually not made up,” said the spokesperson. According to the universities, the BSA does not cause more students to drop out, but it does ensure that students who have made the wrong study choice find out in time. “That is also better for students who would otherwise drop out at a later time. That can lead to more (financial) stress.”
Moreover, says professor of statistics Casper Albers of the University of Groningen, abolition would entail a lot of extra work for teachers. “They have to teach all those students who go on to the second year, check papers, etc. And there is no extra money for universities.”
Albers explains that educational institutions receive money per student who completes the so-called ‘nominal length of study’. For example, the university does not receive any money for students who take longer than the nominal three years to complete their Bachelor’s programme. “If there are many more students of that kind, it will ultimately be at the expense of the quality of education.”
During the corona period, Fontys University of Applied Sciences experimented with abolishing the BSA and the results are promising. According to chairman of the board Joep Houterman, students who would otherwise have been sent away were able to successfully continue their studies. “Some of the students suffer from the pressure to perform that comes with the BSA. They drop out, become insecure and get stressed. By giving them more time, these students can also develop their talents.”
We appear to be wasting talent with the BSA. That is not good for the student, but also not good for society.
Joep Houterman, Fontys
As a result of the experiment, the institution has decided to cancel the BSA from the 2024/2025 academic year. “We appear to be wasting talent with the BSA. That is not good for the student, but also not good for society.”
Houterman does not think that abandoning the BSA will lead to a lot of extra work for lecturers. “Just like now, they continue to pay attention to the individual student. I don’t want to push that concern away. We have to keep an eye on whether we are doing the right thing with this.”
Stick behind the door
Less study pressure, more breathing space. Students at Fontys University of Applied Sciences react cautiously positively to the plan: “Certainly people who really want to, but who may have difficulty studying or struggle with mental complaints due to corona, can continue something that they find very interesting and fun,” says one of the students. reactions.
Yet there are also skeptical voices. In a student house in Eindhoven, the residents are unanimous: the BSA must remain. They see it as a good stick behind the door to step up when things go a little less. “I really enjoyed my studies, but I didn’t really try,” says industrial engineering student Kazimir Breuer. “The BSA made me realize that I really had to do my best to pass. In the end, I got the 45 points and went to the second year.”
Leave a Reply