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Column Mark Duthler

Dear students,

The corona era is bringing out the creativity of all Tio employees. We have scheduled an additional exam period in August, implemented a different way of testing, and organised summer lessons. Campuses are also busy preparing to welcome all students back in a corona-proof setting in September. And of course, various events will be different. Since we are unable to host big open days, we will call interested people on a large scale, hold individual sales conversations, organise many online open days and arrange ‘live’ open days on a small scale.

What concerns me profoundly is the way in which educational bodies obstruct us. There is a kind of watchdog that needs to approve all vocational education internships, the Foundation for Cooperation on Vocational Education, Training and Labour Market (SBB). They are completely inflexible. For example, someone who is studying to be a Junior Account Manager may not do an internship in the sales department of a car dealership, the reason being that selling to consumers differs from selling to companies. I have been advocating for the abolition of the SBB for years, something that would save the state almost 100 million euros a year. Just as in higher education, the university of applied sciences and the company should be able to assess the suitability of internships perfectly well. Why should vocational education be so patronising? The SBB’s ‘SBB helps’ TV campaign is absolutely dire; they do not help at all, all they do is obstruct!

In higher education, we have the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation. Unlike SBB, this organisation is not busy rejecting everything, but instead excels at doing nothing. They have suspended their work for months and have refused to process any paperwork or conduct accreditations online. Unbelievable.

Our trade association, the Nederlandse Raad voor Training en Opleiding (NRTO), offers a glimmer of hope. Under the passionate leadership of former Schoevers director Ria van het Klooster, these types of organisations are held to account. For example, we have been able to reverse shameful decisions by SBB successfully on numerous occasions.

Let us know if you students run into problems with these agencies again!