For employees as well

Parliament wants introduction weeks to include classes on preventing sexual abuse

ongewenst gedrag, foto 123rf
Photo: 123RF

The proposal was made in a motion tabled by the Workers Party (Dutch Acronym: PvdA), which was overwhelmingly adopted by the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The motion says that the government should explore “how education about inappropriate sexual behaviour can be anchored in both the introduction weeks and the curricula of all higher education institutions”.

In addition, the text says that Maastricht University is setting the right example by teaching first-year students about #MeToo during the introduction week. According to the motion, this is “crucial for setting behaviour standards".

It looks like parties across the entire political spectrum agree that that's a good idea. PVV, FvD, JA21 and Pieter Omtzigt were the only ones to vote against the motion.

When the motion was tabled last week, the Minister of Education, Robbert Dijkgraaf, said that Maastricht's example appealed to him, and that he endorses the “thought behind the motion”. He added that his policies already reflect this, mentioning the example of his support to the educational project Ben je oké? ("Are you okay?", Ed.), created by the expertise centre Rutgers, under whose flag free workshops on sexuality will be taught to students and student associations in the upcoming introduction weeks.

But should the government make such education a compulsory part of the curriculum? The minister is of the opinion that this would go against academic freedom. However, he didn’t want to reject the motion “if you’ll permit me to implement it in a different way, by talking to the institutions and bringing this initiative to their attention”. PvdA MP Songül Mutluer agreed to this.

More education
A survey carried out by Amnesty International shows that 1 in 10 female students are raped in college in the Netherlands. Following a series of incidents at student associations that received a great deal of media coverage, the associations have committed – at least on paper – to preventing inappropriate sexual behaviour. The association boards will facilitate workshops and courses.

Earlier this month, Dijkgraaf promised to free up millions of euros to improve social safety at higher education institutions.