Ombudsman: 'I get lots of positive feedback from foreign students'

Delta nr 37, December 2004

In response to a recent reader's letter to the English Page, Delta asked TU Ombudsman Wil Knippenberg what actions he's taken regarding the many complaints he received last year from foreign students.

Having read a short news article in Delta in which the TU Ombudsman merely listed the types of complaints he had received from foreign students last year, foreign student K.F. Chang was compelled to write to Delta in frustration.

"These complaints are very real and were proposed to the Ombudsman many times in the past year," Chang wrote, "but what's the use of mentioning them again on the English Page without proposing any solutions or suggestions. The Ombudsman is supposed to deal with these kind of matters for students and fight the issues with the university, not merely repeat the problems in Delta. This article only shows the Ombudsman's inefficiency and uselessness to students regarding these matters. I want to hear something from the Ombudsman about what he's done about the complaints about the service fee and quality of lectures."

So, we asked the Ombudsman to tell us exactly what actions, if any, he's taken to redress these complaints. "The TU no longer charges a service fee for international students," Knippenberg says. "It was cancelled after just one year, because it caused a lot of discussion." Things that were previously covered by the service fee, such as an airport pick-up and summer school, are now covered by the tuition fee. "Since they made this change," the Ombudsman said, "I havenít received any more complaints from foreign students about, for instance, the airport pick-up."

Last year, the Ombudsman also received many complaints from foreign students about the quality of lectures. Knippenberg: "This is something that's been subject of discussion at the TU for decades now. Opinions on how lectures should best be given vary greatly." Knippenberg regularly discusses the subject with lecturers, but can't really do anything to change the quality of lectures. "Paul Rullman, the TUís Vice President of Education, focuses to a great extent on ways to increase the quality of education," the Ombudsman says. "Rullman is well aware of complaints of this nature."

One useful thing the ombudsman managed to change was the period of notice students had to give when deciding to move out of one of the campus' infamous space-box housing units. "I received lots of complaints about the one year notice, as well as the 330 euro monthly rent," Knippenberg confirms. He therefore informed the Executive Board about the complaints and eventually the period of notice was changed. "I think it's one month now, but it might be two."

Other changes relating to international students the Ombudsman played a part in include the continuing increases in the amount of TU information available in English. He also helped improve the quality of the reception foreign students receive when arriving at TU Delft, as well as, in individual cases, improving the quality of student counseling. "I get a lot of positive feedback from foreign students," Knippenberg says


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