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Not 33 but 42 ECTS points

BSA standard bachelor programmes FASoS rise

If you obtain fewer than 42 ECTS points in one year, you may have to quit your bachelor’s programme at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This is one of the proposals in the Education and Examination Regulations (OERs) for 2011/12 of European Studies, Arts and Culture, and Cultuurwetenschappen. 

A survey among European Studies students, held prior to the Faculty Council meeting last week, showed that a large majority (82 percent) were opposed to the changes in the OERs for the different bachelor’s programmes.

It was clear that the Faculty Board, which made the plans, was aware of this opposition, but did not change its opinion. The BSA standard will rise from 33 to 42 ECTS points (out of 60). There are several reasons for this: certain sister faculties already require a BSA above 40, Maastricht wants to avoid having students study too long (keeping in mind the recent discussion in the Netherlands), and students who score below 42 ECTS are rarely able to catch up. The student members of the council were not happy, but eventually agreed.

The attendance rule – how many tutorials can a student miss? – was another hot issue during the council meeting. Currently, students are required to attend 70 percent of tutorials. “The rule is to be there; that should be the message”, argued dean Rein de Wilde. The parties came to an agreement: students can miss one tutorial in a course of seven or fewer sessions, and two in a course of eight to eleven sessions. For those who find themselves in a difficult spot, there’s always the ‘hardship clause’.  

What to do with students who fail the attendance rule but pass the examination? They will be required to follow the course again within two years. If they wait too long, the exam result will no longer be valid and they will have to do a resit as well.

The Faculty Board proposed changing the validity of the exam results and attendance records to one year, in the hope that this would motivate students and enhance the quality of the PBL sessions. “If all students are taking modules for the first time and are eager to pass, they will be more motivated to play an active role in the educational process.” 

The student members, however, rejected this proposal. “This will automatically create a study delay”, one argued, and will frustrate people’s plans to go abroad, for example. What’s more, it would seem strange to do a resit for an exam you have already passed. “You’ve already proved you know the material.” De Wilde – who emphasised that PBL is a single package comprising both examination and attendance – suggested a compromise: “We keep the two-year validity rule, unless there are substantial changes in the course content.” In that case, the student would be required to take both the course and exam again.

 

Riki Janssen

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