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Language courses with vouchers

8 August 2006, 00:19

From August 2006, every student at Tilburg University will receive twelve language vouchers. Each voucher will be worth one ECTS credit. Using these vouchers, students can take an average of two language courses at the Language Centre during their studies.

From August 2006, every student at Tilburg University will receive twelve language vouchers. Each voucher will be worth one ECTS credit. Using these vouchers, students can take an average of two language courses at the Language Centre during their studies. Students who want to take more language courses will have to pay for these.

Employees of Tilburg University will not receive language vouchers. Students can use a language voucher to take a language course at the Language Centre that isn't a compulsory part of the curriculum. However, the vouchers do not offer a guarantee of admission to language courses: full is full. Nonetheless, the system is meant to reduce the former waiting lists - about 150 students every semester - for language programmes. "For some students, signing up for a language programme was free of obligation: students frequently didn't show up, as a result of which other students missed their chance."

By introducing the vouchers, the Language Centre forces students to realise the consequences of their choices. "Now students will think twice before spending a voucher", says head of the Language Centre, Guust Meijers.

Every year in August, students can sign up through COMAP for all courses being offered that academic year. Enrolments will be accepted in order of entry. A student who runs out of vouchers can take part for a reduced tariff of 60 euros per ECTS-credit. Students in some faculties can take the language programmes as part of the optional courses. If not, the course will be reported as an additional subject.

Instead of receiving a budget from the Executive Board for the entire academic year, as used to be done, from August, the Language Centre will receive a fixed subsidy for every voucher that is handed in. "The Board wants a 'demand-oriented' system.

As a result, we have to anticipate changing demands more rapidly", explains Meijers. If all vouchers are used, the amount of money the Language Centre receives from the Board will be higher than the current budget. As a result, the language centre will be able to offer five more courses each year. Meijers: "More Italian groups have been planned, there will be more classes in oral French, German, and Spanish, and the English package will offer more variety." [LM/transl.YV]

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