In September 2015, Mr Joris van Bergen was appointed chairman of the National Commission. A year has passed, which the chairman used to be introduced to the various parties involved in the Code of Conduct, and a year in which petitions and investigations were passed in review and a beginning was made to evaluate the Code of Conduct. In this newsletter the chairman tells about his experiences in the past year.
After my first year of having been the chairman of the National Commission Code of Conduct I would like to share some impressions with the readers of this newsletter.
The first thing that struck me was the wide range of activities of the Commission and its administrative office. In the case of imposing sanctions against an educational institution consistent and strict corrective actions were required to improve its conduct in accordance with the Code of Conduct, whereas in another case a student’s complaint could simply be dealt with in correspondence.
Besides dealing with complaints, the Commission carries out examinations after receiving information about potential issues. For instance, an exploratory inspection of the drop-out rate of international students in the preparatory year was carried out. We shared the results in the first newsletter. What caught my eyes in the deliberations was the combination of adopting the point of view of an international student and at the same time a sympathetic approach to how educational institutions operate. Being strict yet putting things into perspective with a good sense of humour. Last autumn was to me mainly a period of getting to know people and organizations. In the first place the higher education umbrella organizations NRTO, VH and VSNU, the conveyors of the Code of Conduct. Next came the partners, such as the ministries of Education and Social Affairs, the Dutch Inspectorate of Education, the accreditation organization NVAO, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service and the internationalization organization Nuffic. In each meeting I encountered positive commitment with the Code of Conduct as a benchmark for dealing with international students. At the moment, an important issue for the Commission is to evaluate the Code of Conduct, in collaboration with the umbrella organizations, the representatives of educational institutions and the partners listed here. This process pre-eminently gives us the opportunity to reflect on the questions: for whom do we work, and how can we improve this? The experiences outlined in this newsletter promise a fruitful evaluation.
Joris van Bergen
Chairman National Commission Code of Conduct