More power for students, staff

Even though university elections turn out is low, students will still get more of a say about the course of affairs at the university. The Upper House of Dutch Parliament is supporting the legislative proposal to give students and staff members a greater say.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Mina Solanki

A few months ago in the Upper House of Dutch Parliament, the parties felt that minster Bussemaker’s legislative proposal fell short in many ways; however, they now support it, reports. The senators are in favour of giving students and staff more power are in a large majority.

Students will have more pull in the recruitment of new directors. Serving as a board member without having to pay tuition will be implemented and degree programme committees will be given a greater say. Also, ECTS (study credits) cannot simply be declared invalid any longer


The legislative proposal has led to days of discussions in the Lower House of Parliament and a plethora of changes. Many of the proposals were subsequently called into question by the VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy), CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) and the D66 (Democrats 66) in the Upper House of Parliament.

They criticised the plan to do away with limiting the shelf life for study credits. And the idea to allow students who are taking part in a full-time board membership year to study tuition-free was not well received. ‘Isn’t this encouraging students to bend over backwards to be covered by this favourable arrangement?’, the VVD asked.

However, all criticism melted away like a snowman on a sunny day on Tuesday. All of the parties changed their tune.


They are, however, worried about the lacklustre involvement of students in the University Board of their respective universities, writes the Higher Education Press Office (HOP). At the majority of universities not even 20 per cent of students bother to vote in university elections. In Groningen, voter turn out topped out at 27.9 per cent.

That has to change, Ruard Ganzevoort, member of GroenLinks (Green Party) feels. He wondered whether in the future the way in which one voices their opinion should be different, using internet polling and brainstorm sessions, for example. Bussemaker is certainly interested and is going to look into whether experiments can be done.


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