15 May 2017 • HOP, by Irene Schoenmacker
Students demand €1,000,000 in damages from the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
Students in the bachelor’s degree programme in Medical Emergency Assistance are taking the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences to court. They are making a group claim for roughly a million euros because they were unable to find internships and were thus unable to graduate.
This bachelor’s degree programme educates students to take on such positions as members of ambulance and hospital emergency care teams. To provide their medical treatments independently of other medical professionals, they must receive a ‘BIG certification’ from an agency of the Ministry of Health.
Without the certification, many of these students had to delay their graduation because they could not find internships. This problem occurred most often at the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and the HAN University of Applied Sciences. For most of the specialisations at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, such a certification was not required.
Nevertheless, the National Student Law Office (LSR) is also filing a lawsuit against the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences in which each student is claiming €20,000 for each year he or she had to wait to graduate. In the end, some of them had actually needed one of these BIG certifications and were faced with the same problems as the students at the other two universities of applied sciences.
What’s more, said the LSR, students in other specialisations also had a hard time finding an internship. According to Gabriël van Rosmalen, Chairman of the LSR, the degree programme in Medical Emergency Assistance is no longer that highly regarded. The number of internships available within the profession remains extremely limited. Since an internship is required, these students, too, encountered study delays.
It was not until 2014 that the Minister was urged to require these professionals to have a BIG certification. The LSR found this ‘rather odd’. ‘The Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is obliged by law to facilitate a degree programme that can be completed within four years.’
The certification is coming. The Council of State saw no reason for this, but the outgoing Cabinet still wants to include the profession in the certification as a pilot study. The aim is not to allay problems in the labour market (although this would be a nice side effect) but to see if it would improve the effectiveness of the care sector in acute emergency situations.
The HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht appealed its case after the court determined a year ago March that it was indeed responsible for the damages. The case against the HAN University of Applied Sciences still has to be heard.