More and more students are having to put a premature end to their studies at university or polytechnic because they have been failed too often. The news often comes after students have spent three or even more years at a seat of advanced learning and means they will never graduate.
Lawmaker Brecht Warnez says too much time and cash are being wasted. He calls for the introduction of a different system.
In September 2018 10,107 students were unable to continue their studies due to a lack of study credits (or points). The figure was significantly up from the 6,461 recorded four years previously.
Under the present system students are handed 140 study points at the beginning of their career. Start a year and you need to invest 60 points. Pass and all 60 points are returned.
Fail half your courses and you will have lost 30 points: 110 remain. Fail half your courses the second year and your tally is down to 80.
Lawmaker Warnez, who also lectures at Ghent University, says that in this way after three, four or even five years, you can suddenly be left with fewer than 60 points and be unable to start the full next year. Universities or polytechnics can refuse to register you or demand a higher fee.
The system was introduced to encourage students to make the right study choices and to encourage universities and polytechnics to motivate their students. “If you only discover somebody is doing the wrong courses after many years, then a lot of cash and time have been lost. Sometimes students prefer to continue the same courses despite the advice. At that point it’s often too late to change” says Warnez.
The lawmaker adds that some universities have already tried to sort it: “At Leuven University under the “mile post” system, students must pass all their first year courses in the first two years. Other bodies have introduced similar systems. We need to bring all these experiences together and come up with a system that works for Flanders as a whole”.