Complaints about higher education - the Netherlands
Responsibility for the structure of higher education is vested with the Dutch higher education institutions themselves. The Board of a university sets down education and examination regulations, encompassing the content of the programme, the associated interim and final exams, the rights of students, and the option for internal appeals. Following an internal complaints procedure, students may lodge an external appeal with the Appeals Board for Higher Education (CBHO).
Responsibility for the substantiation of higher education is vested with the Dutch higher education institutions themselves. Within the statutory framework of the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act (WHW), they are free to develop and substantiate a programme. For each programme or cluster of programmes, the Board of a university sets down education and examination regulations, which specify the content of the programme and list the associated interim and final exams. These regulations also set out the rights of students, and the options for internal appeals or the complaints procedure. Students receive the education and examination regulations at the beginning of the academic year. They may contact the institution’s confidential advisor, if any, to enquire about the complaints procedure.
An internal appeals procedure at a higher education institution may be followed by an external appeal with the Appeals Board for Higher Education (CBHO). Such an appeal may be lodged if students are of the opinion that the institution has taken an unjustified decision regarding tuition or examination fees, grants from profiling funds, enrolment or deregistration issues, exemptions based on other degrees, decentralised selection in programmes subject to an admissions quota, violation of the institution’s house rules or rules of order of the institution, a ruling by the Appeals Board for Examinations (CBE) regarding examination issues, admission to bachelor’s and master’s programmes, or examination fraud.
Inspectorate of Education
The Inspectorate of Education supervises the accreditation system, compliance with legislation and regulations (e.g., the functioning of the examining board), and the financial legitimacy in accordance with the Higher Education and Research Act (WHW). The Inspectorate verifies whether the composition of the examining board and the Education and Examination Regulations comply with the law. The Inspectorate does not monitor the quality of examinations and student assessments. The Inspectorate involves NVAO in its assessment of the quality elements contained in the assessment frameworks for the higher education accreditation system. The Inspectorate may perform an interim inquiry, if so dictated by signals received. The Inspectorate does not deal with complaints; complaints must be lodged with the institution concerned. However, the Inspectorate may take further action in the event of serious signals.