VVD calls for stricter supervision of online university education

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MPs from the right-wing liberal VVD party plan to bring forward a motion calling for more oversight of online university and college education when MPs debate the impact of the coronavirus on higher education, the Volkskrant said at week-end.

Between 70% and 90% of the courses will be online in the coming year, which means that increased scrutiny is crucial, VVD MP Dennis Wiersma told the newspaper. “Quality must be paramount,” he said. “I heard from students… that they were extremely worried”.

As universities and colleges make a major effort, Wiersma said he supported the introduction of “mystery” tours to online courses by “student inspectors” who would compile a list of issues requiring action.

CDA MP Harry van der Molen told the newspaper he was also 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 rejected any form of outside interference in the way universities organize their online education and said inspectors would continue to monitor quality “as they always have”.

The other two coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie believe that the current methods of control are sufficient.

But student union LSVB told the Volkskrant it supports a follow-up that examines delays, dropout rate and quality. “We need hard data,” a spokesperson told the newspaper. ‘It is simply not true to say that there is no indication that the quality [of digital lessons] should be closely watched.

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