Divisions allowed to decide on participation
– New right of consent makes the committee much more important
– Divisions are allowed to decide for themselves whether they plan on participating in the elections in September.
The study program committees in higher education are going to become much more important this school year than they have been before. The Dutch House of Representatives has decided that they get a right of consent regarding certain topics in the Education and Exam regulations (OER) per the 1st September. In view of the extended powers of the committee, The Hague has decided that the committee has to be a democratic reflection of the institution and will therefore be established by means of elections. Windesheim is now working on it.
The study programme committee has always been advisory, providing the study programme director or manager with advice whether it was asked for or not. That advice had to be related to matters of education such as study load and the facilities. Apart from that, the study program committees had to be asked for advice when discussing the OER regulations. This has changed since the 1st September. The house of representatives has given the study program committees the right of consent for certain parts of the OER. This means that the study programme committees have to give consent for specific parts of the OER regulation before they can be executed. This development was to be expected, says educational law expert Wim Snippe. “The ministry has been expanding on the tasks of the study program committee over the past few years now. The decision is a confirmation so to say of their increasing importance. The right of consent is only applicable to certain parts of the OER regulations. From now on the committee will have to explicitly approve of things such as the accompaniment of students, the study programme and the assigning of study points.”
The extended powers of the study program committee means that their position with respect to the study program director has changed. Snippe: “The ‘game’ will have to be played differently; much more seriously. Study program committees will have to learn to do this and the same goes for the study programme directors. I am curious as to how this will develop itself in the time coming.”
The House of Representatives has also decided that study program committees will from now on be allowed to have elections. It is not obliged. Windesheim has decided to hold the elections, but the decision to not hold an election is eventually in the hands of the division director and district council. “We have given them one year time in order to prepare this. You can of course imagine that a director might rather not take part in this, for example for the reason of the study programme committee not having been composed yet. But, if they do decide to participate, the elections will take place by the end of September. All at the same time, because that is more effective. This will make it possible to come out to the outside world much more intensively.” (MH)