One of the aims of vocational education is to foster the student’s work ethic: the dedication or devotion to one’s occupational tasks. The student is to develop a proper Arbeitsethos, as they call it in German. But Dutch universities rather tend to kill their students’ work ethic. That is the proposition I will elaborate here.
In the first section I will discuss the way Dutch universities treat part-time students, who want to combine study with a paid job. In the remaining four sections I will discuss the way the study tasks are being organized. Work ethic is about doing a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Students hope to be assigned feasible study tasks. They hope to get a fair study load, given the time they are able to invest into their study. And they hope their invested study time will yield optimum learning gains. On that basis a proper work ethic can be maintained and promoted. I shall explore whether Dutch universities create that basis, or at least try to do so.
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