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2020 Dutch College report: “Just ⅓ of all Dutch college students are satisfied with the information their institution provides”

JOB, the Dutch student organisation that represents students at MBOs (colleges for further education and BTEC levels), presented their bi-annual report based on a recent survey taken by 260,000 of the near 460,000 MBO student population. Students were asked to rate various aspects of their institution such as the quality of education and the quality of communication from their institution. With an improved survey, surprising results were presented. “Just ⅓ of all Dutch college students are satisfied with the information their institution provides” Frits Bor, account manager at StuComm, shared his view on the results.

With just 33% of all students signalling they are satisfied with the information provided by their institution, it is the lowest score since the survey began. The score encapsulates result from different types of information, such as communication around fees to how institutions deal with complaints and questions. On some subjects institutions scored higher than others. Institutions came out well when it came to providing information on study results and progress. Only 21% of all the students were not satisfied with this information. “For me, that was the positive note from this survey. However, there is still room for improvement. Study results and progress are such important pieces of information, that have to be available at all times”, says Bor.

Dealing with issues

The area that came out worst was how MBOs dealt with student issues. Only 28% of students are satisfied with how their institution deals with issues. “‘Offering support and dealing with questions and issues properly is something I often discuss with institutions”, says Bor. “Institutions struggle with this. Students are the ‘customers’ of any institution. When they have a question or issue, you want to offer them the appropriate solution. The core of this is not in the solution to the issues itself but in the process of receiving, processing and dealing with these issues. This is far from optimal.”

In Bor’s opinion, there is still room for improvement in the way students can raise issues. “It is not unusual for students to find themselves in a situation that ‘just happened’. On-campus they could find a computer not to be working or that lab equipment is broken. While studying from home, a common issue for students could centre around the virtual learning environment not working as intended. In those situations, students have to be able to easily find a solution. At this point in time, students are often required to visit the service desk in person or to find an email address, hidden on a website, to report their issue. This is not the simplest service for students to use”, says Bor. He also offers a solution: “I have spoken about this challenge with many institutions and we have developed the Support Feature for our StuCommApp. This feature allows students to easily report an issue, while institutions receive these issues in the support systems they use. This way, you make it easy for both students and the institution.”

Providing feedback

Another area many students are not satisfied with is the degree to which they are asked to provide feedback. Less than ⅓ of all students are satisfied with this. “I was surprised by this finding”, says Bor. “The goal of every institution is to help their students succeed and prepare them for life after education. Without receiving feedback on the quality of education, you will never know if your services meet your students’ expectations. How will you ever be able to optimise your education?”

Again, Bor offers a solution: “In the past few months I have heard how important feedback from students is to institutions, especially in regards to the virtual learning environment experience. I have been able to help a few of our customers with our Feedback Feature, which is a tool used to ask students for their feedback in short surveys. Institutions using this feature, have improved their educational offering based on the feedback provided by their students.”

Bor is hopeful the findings in the JOB-monitor will be put to good use by institutions. “Students have to be the main priority of any institution. We have to look at what students think we are doing right and what students think we are doing wrong, and use that to improve. When students are satisfied, they simply perform better”, Bor concludes.