Sunday 29 November 2020

VVD calls for tighter supervision of online university teaching

Photo: Depositphotos.com

MPs from the right-wing Liberal party VVD are planning to introduce a motion calling for more supervision of online university and college teaching when MPs debate the impact of coronavirus on higher education, the Volkskrant said at the weekend.

Between 70% and 90% of lessons will be online in the coming year, and this means more control is crucial, VVD parliamentarian Dennis Wiersma told the paper.  ‘Quality must be paramount,’ he said. ‘I have heard from students… that they are extremely worried.’

While universities and colleges are making a major effort, Wiersma said he favoured the introduction of ‘mystery’ visits to online lectures by ‘student inspectors’ who would compile a list of issues which require action.

CDA MP Harry van der Molen told the paper he too is concerned about standards, and called on education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven to make sure she keeps a finger on the pulse. But he rejected the idea of secret inspections, saying it went too far.

Van Engelshoven has rejected any form of outside interference into how universities organise their online teaching and said that inspectors will continue to monitor quality ‘as they have always done’.

The other two coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie say they consider current methods of supervision to be sufficient.

But student union LSVB told the Volkskrant that it backs monitoring which looks at delays, the drop-out rate and quality. ‘We need hard data,’ a spokesman told the paper. ‘It is just not true to say there are no indications that the quality [of digital lessons] needs to be kept a close eye on.’

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