Posted in Education, Policy

Vice-Dean: After the ‘nuke’ goes off, we’ll take a look…

…until then we’ll hope it won’t go off in the first place.
Starting this academic year departments are fined for every exam for which the grades have been published too late. To meet the teachers halfway, the correction periods have been extended from two to three weeks – and if teachers are still late, their department will be fined EUR 2,500.00 per exam. But the ‘million dollar question’ is what will happen with the collected money? Nobody seems to know… ?
Thursday, November 11, 2010

(Rotterdam) – Maybe just the latest controversy is the collection of money without knowing the destination for it. Starting this academic year departments can receive a fine if a teacher delivers exam grades after the deadline of three weeks. This idea has been copied from the University of Tilburg where it was introduced late 2008 with successful results.

To find out how big of a problem this is, the Dean has compiled statistics for block 1 (2009/2010) which show horrific results. For example 18 exams needed 17 to 19 days to be graded, and 10 exams needed a stunning amount of 25 to 48 days. Of 47 exams only a shaming amount of 6 exams were graded within 16 days. I have heard awful stories from students, but these statistics showed an even worse situation than I could imagine.

Another problem that plays a role is that even if a teacher grades his exams on time, he is dependent on the examination administration because it can take several days until the grades are registered in OSIRIS. It is only fair to fine people if they are solely responsible for all aspects of registration. The new regulation takes into account the teacher needs a maximum of 19 days to do the correction work and 2 days for the examination administration to register the grades.

With the new regulation I received a substantial amount of questions about what will happen with the collected money from the fines. Logically this money should flow back into education, but the exact destination remains a mystery. That is why I posed this question to the Vice-Dean last Council Meeting on Wednesday, November 10, 2010. The answer is he doesn’t know what the money will be spent on and will figure it out if any money is collected. Ivo Arnold: “It is just like a nuclear weapon: we hope it won’t go off”. Implying that they are prepared to wait until the bomb goes off and just and only then determine what they will do.

This sounds typically Dutch: We know it is a dangerous crossroad, but we will wait and see if accidents will occur before putting up traffic lights. Is this the right attitude towards this problem? I don’t think so, because although the ESE copied the regulation from Tilburg, they didn’t copy the results: Tilburg says that after a test period the correction period was exceeded only less, not zero times.

So the question remains: Are we run by idiots or is there some other reason for not determining where the money will go?

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