Student - March 28, 2013

No BSA after first year

A binding 'go/ no go' recommendation for second- and third-year students, as proposed by Minister Bussemaker, is a bridge too far for Wageningen. But the university is now heading for a binding study advice for first-years.

Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker has given universities, both those offering theoretical courses and those offering the applied sciences, the chance to experiment with a binding study advice (BSA) in the second and third years of a Bachelor's degree. This advice would mean that students who haven't gained enough points can pack their bags.
Some universities, such as Leiden, are going to experiment with extending the BSA straightaway. But the situation at Wageningen University is different, as here there is not even a BSA in the first year yet. 'We have been dissidents for a long time,' says Tiny van Boekel, director of Wageningen University's Education Institute. 'For a long time it was said that we don't need it. Most students make a conscious choice for Wageningen and are highly motivated. But now we are considering it after all, in the students' own interests. It could be a way of helping students to make sure they are in the right place faster. Now that we'll be having a social loan system and a hard cutoff point between Bachelor's and Master's programmes, this has become very important.'
Before the summer a working group will advise on the introduction of a BSA at Wageningen. If it is brought in, it will probably be from September 2014. 'The cutoff point will probably be somewhere between 30 and 40 points,' says Van Boekel. There is also some discussion as to whether the BSA should come in the first or second year.
It is clear in any case that Bussemaker's plans are a bridge too far for Wageningen. Van Boekel: 'Once students have passed the first year, most of them get through.' The student council is pleased with this insight. 'A BSA after the first year makes it incredibly difficult to do anything alongside your studies, whether it's starting a business, doing a job or doing committee and board work,' says Student Council member Esther van Vliet of VeSte. Whether VeSte supports a BSA in the first year will depend on how it is done, she says.