Windesheim joins experiment flexstudying

Students can determine their own study pace

  • Six-year experiment must lead to roughly a thousand ‘flex students’.
  • Hagoort: ‘We have a lot of need to learn from this.’

Windesheim will become one of the four participants of an experiment of the ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) at which students will pay per credit. The Central Participation Council (CPC) has approved the plan last Thursday.

In the experiment students cannot compose the context of the study themselves, but they do have the opportunity to determine their own study pace. The experiment will start in September and will take six years. The Executive Board wants to start with a maximum of fifty flex students; after that they will grow to roughly a thousand. The Education and Examination Regulations (OER) will have to be altered. This mostly has to do with making ‘learning agreements’ at the beginning of every semester. The experiment will be managed by a still to be appointed ‘coordinator of flex students’.

Students that want to be eligible must be enrolled for a fulltime bachelor study or an Associate Degree programme, and must be at least a second-year student. Also, they must have a positive binding recommendation on continuation of study (BSA). During the past CPC meetings confusion arose among the members of the CPC because the text suggested that the experiment was meant for top athletes, students with a business, students with disabilities, or with caretaker duties. The board made clear that the experiment ‘has to be eligible for everyone’. During the discussion, it turned out that it is unclear how the financing of this programme holds up to the subsidiaries of the student fund, that is meant for said student groups. This will be clarified along the way.

The experiment can turn out eight tonnes of lost profits in the form of missed tuition fees. The CPC wondered if this approach was justifiable during these times, when two domains must make tough choices. Chairman of the Executive Board Henk Hagoort told the council that, based on these numbers, he was willing to take the risk. He advised against asking the council again for consent next year: ‘After one year we will probably not have learned enough.’ A dialogue about the progress is always possible and the CPC has the right to give advice at any moment.

Hagoort points out that the experiment fits with the ambitions of the institutional plan: ‘We want to go to another dividing system. Then it is also a necessity to practise as soon as possible.’ On the question when the board will see the experiment as a success, the answer was: ‘If we learned sufficient about the wishes of the student, and the risks you take with it.’ (MH)

 

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