Scriptie op bestelling: voorlopig geen rol voor OM

Pas als studenten op grote schaal ghostwriters gaan inhuren om hun scriptie te schrijven, zal het openbaar ministerie in actie komen, verwacht staatssecretaris Zijlstra. Voorlopig kunnen instellingen fraudegevallen zelf wel aan.

Op allerlei sites bieden mensen zich aan om tegen een vergoeding een scriptie te schrijven en vragen studenten  om hulp bij hun afstudeerwerk. Zoals ‘Watie’ die wel al een scriptieopzet heeft en ook zelf wel de interviews voor zijn scriptie wil afnemen, maar die iemand zoekt die de vragen wil opstellen en de scriptie vervolgens wil schrijven. ‘Jeroen’ reageert: “Ik heb zelf destijds sociologie gestudeerd en ben nu beleidsmedewerker. Het lijkt me leuk om je te helpen en de vergoeding die je wil bieden is ook leuk meegenomen.”

 PvdA-kamerlid Tanja Jadnanansing wilde van staatssecretaris Zijlstra weten of hij ook vindt dat zulke praktijken niet door de beugel kunnen en wat hij eraan gaat doen. Die antwoordt dat studenten die hun scriptie door iemand anders laten schrijven kunnen worden geschorst door hun hogeschool of universiteit. Ook kan hun getuigschrift worden ingetrokken als ze worden betrapt.

Maar zolang het niet de spuigaten uitloopt, kunnen de instellingen het volgens Zijlstra zelf wel af. Pas als er sprake is van fraude “op grote en georganiseerde schaal”, die de goede naam van het Nederlandse hoger onderwijs in gevaar brengt, dan zou het openbaar ministerie nader onderzoek in kunnen stellen. Er is dan mogelijk sprake van ‘valsheid in geschrifte’ of ‘oplichting/bedrog’.

After having worked for several years in their home countries, civil engineers Fanuel Kalugendo and Camilo Medina decided to head to the Netherlands to gain Master’s degrees at TU Delft, attracted they both say by the university’s good reputation and research standards. Kalugendo (MSc Transport and Planning) and Medina (MSc Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics) both recently graduated from their respective programmes, thus concluding their TU Delft experience. With their diplomas now under their belts, the young engineers share their thoughts on life at and after TU Delft.

What are the most valuable things you learned in your two years in Delft?
Kalugendo: “To think more independently as an engineer. I was used to an educational system in which students are mainly required to learn things by heart and reproduce them in exam or assignments. However, in many of my TU Delft courses I had to think beyond methods and justify my own decisions. This is difficult for students, but thanks to these skills I now feel that I can develop and assess engineering projects from a more critical point of view.”
Medina: “One of my most valuable experiences was meeting people from all over the world. It’s very stimulating to learn how people from other cultures see the world, and what they expect from themselves and others. I was surprised for example to realise that Dutch people expect their government to be very active in providing solutions to their problems.”

How do you feel about your overall experience in Holland?
: “I’ve learned many useful things, not only at the academic level but also about other lifestyles. One example is the whole idea of individualism and working independently, which is much more developed in Europe than in my home country. I do however feel I wasn’t able to completely integrate into Dutch society: during my two years, I made more friends among international students than among the Dutch. But the reason was not only the language barrier but also the differences with regard to personal situation.”

Such as…?
Kalugendo: “Well, I was living in a strange country, far from my family. This makes you vulnerable and you try to meet people in similar situations, with similar needs. Conversely, Dutch students generally feel at home and are more confident; they have their own lives and don’t need to make more friends. However, I was lucky to be hosted by a family in Deventer who are friends of a relative of mine in Tanzania. They did a lot to make me feel at home. They regularly invited me over and even attended my MSc thesis presentation. Some kind of program sponsored by the university to provide ‘host families’ for international students would be very helpful. This was done in Deventer years ago, and that’s actually how my relative, who studied there, met my Dutch host family.”

How does Holland compare to your home country?
Medina: “I like this country, although adaptation is difficult as a foreigner. Dutch people are very different from Colombians. I find Dutch people to be less social than we are. A Dutch person seldom approaches people he/she doesn’t know; you always have to go talk to them. Instead, we Colombians are generally more open to socializing with new people – both locals and foreigners. We also like much more to dance, like salsa and meringue, and express ourselves by dancing. Dutch people just don’t dance!”

What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?
Kalugendo: “I plan to go back to Tanzania, which was already my initial plan. I have a family back home, so I never seriously considered the possibility of staying in Europe after graduating. Once in Tanzania I’ll continue working for my previous employer, at least for some time.”
Medina: “Originally my plan wasn’t to stay in Holland after graduating, but now I’d like to stay a while. I’d like to find a job related to the transport field and gain some professional experience here. I don’t think this is impossible; actually, I know foreigners who studied at TU Delft and succeeded in being hired by companies in Holland.”

Do you think your TU Delft degree will make a real difference in your future career?
Kalugendo: “I expect it will help me move forward in my professional career, both because of the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired and because of the recognition one gets after gaining a degree from a top university. I’m particularly looking for possibilities of participating in implementing the new Bus Rapid Transit system in Dar es Salaam. Whether or not I’ll professionally benefit from my two years at TU Delft, only time will tell, but it certainly has been a deeply enriching experience for me from a personal point of view.”

Is speaking Dutch a prerequisite for working here?
Medina: “In my experience, it’s hard to find a job here if you don’t speak Dutch. So, my little piece of advice to other international students is: if you want to stay, learn Dutch!”

How have you gone about finding work in Holland?
Medina: “That would be my second piece of advice: make use of the resources the university has available for graduates looking for jobs – like the TU’s Career Centre and Supair. I did and they were very helpful: they reviewed my CV, and they gave me recommendations on how to approach companies. However, I must admit I only got to know about the Career Centre and Supair informally, through one of my thesis supervisors.”

So to find a job here, it’s up to the individual’s personal ambition rather than institutional handholding?
Medina: “The university offers many services to graduates looking for jobs, but there’s no clear guiding process. All information is scattered and no one formally tells you about these services. I don’t feel the university really cares about whether or not I find work here. However, if I don’t find a job, I won’t regard my two years in Delft as a waste of time. Eventually, I’m planning to go back to Colombia and hope my MSc studies will subsequently help me in my career – not necessarily in terms of a better position or higher salary, but in terms of recognition and background to create my own company in future.”

Editor Redactie

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