Not all diplomas awarded by the University of Groningen are created equal. Every year, a small part of the graduating class receives a few additional lines of print on their certificates designating Latin honors: cum laude or summa cum laude. These academic distinctions can be earned by full-time students for meeting a certain grade point average. Students who get high grades deserve the recognition, but the system puts a mental strain on those who pursue the honor, university newspaper UKrant says.
Following the decision by the Medical School of the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam to end its honors system, RUG was pushed to weigh its options in the matter. “This is a discussion we’ve been having here for years,” Hila Helma, student-assessor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, told the UKrant. “The honors system leads to work stress and pressure to perform among students.”
Ms Helma believes the current distinctions should be abolished, “but that decision must be considered carefully,” she says.
Most members of the Intercity Student Consultation are in favor of eliminating the current system of Latin honors, the group’s board member Gijsbert van Elven told the paper. He’s delighted with the the decision made in Amsterdam. “It’s a step in the right direction, but the pressure to perform in higher education needs to be addressed more comprehensively,” he says.
For the time being, RUG will keep the current honors system, but the school indicates there is a strong chance it will be revised in the nearest future.