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Committee of Appeal for Examinations: student wishes to stay enrolled with only two ECTS credits

Illustratie: Kim Bell

An international student did not agree with the negative binding study advice he received from his study programme. In the first year of his Engineering programme, he only obtained 2 out of the 52 ECTS credits required to continue his programme. And yet he decided to submit an appeal to the Committee of Appeal for Examinations.

During the hearing last Monday, the student looked anxious. He was assigned an interpreter because he does not speak Dutch. The student was given the opportunity to speak first. He explained why he does not agree with the examination board’s decision. He stated that he was unable to obtain more ECTS credits due to personal circumstances. His studies did not get off to a great start. The international student had issues with his visa and, as a result, was not allowed to take part in lectures and tutorials during the first block of the programme and was not allowed to sit exams.

In consultation with the student counsellor, he agreed to work extra hard in blocks 2, 3 and 4. The student said this caused a lot of stress. He was already behind 15 ECTS credits as a result of not being able to complete block 1, and would never have been able to obtain the 52 ECTS credits required to continue studying.

The first-year student also faced housing issues. To make matters worse, the student fell ill at the end of block 2. According to him, the illness lingered for several months, making studying impossible for him in block 3. However, the student failed to report his illness to the student counsellor. It is also unclear to both the examination board and the Committee of Appeal for Examinations, what he was suffering from. Apparently his lips and throat were affected, but the student was unable to offer further clarification during the hearing.

The stress caused by all the events mentioned above and the pressure he felt from the examination board, became too much for the student. In his own words, he was ‘unable to cope mentally’. As a result, he had a mental block in period 4, and he was unable to obtain any more ECTS credits. 

Examination board
The examination board admitted to the Committee of Appeal for Examinations that it may have dropped the ball by not speaking to the student about possibly adjusting the limit of required ECTS credits. For example by lowering the standard from 52 to 45 credits, because the student missed out on obtaining 15 ECTS credits during block 1 due to his visa issues.

However, the examination board stands by its decision to issue a negative binding study advice. The student only obtained a total of two ECTS credits in blocks 2, 3 and 4. He also barely attended any lectures and tutorials and did not sit all of his exams. The examination board added that, even when the first-year student did go to class, his lecturers said he never actively participated. In support of their case, the student’s transcript was handed to the chairperson of the Committee of Appeal for Examinations. 

The Committee of Appeal for Examinations ultimately declared the student’s appeal to be unfounded. This means he will have to leave the programme. The international student has not yet found another study. It is unclear whether or not he will stay in the Netherlands.

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