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University Teaching Qualification (BKO)

Good teaching is a skill in itself. In order to guarantee the quality of education in the Netherlands, the University Teaching Qualification (Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs, BKO) is now compulsory for all lecturers, university lecturers (UD), senior university lecturers (UHD) and professors. What does this qualification mean for you?

The BKO is a mark of quality used by all Dutch universities. It functions as a reliable frame of reference with respect to your didactic skills. The BKO track consists of a series of modules, allowing lecturers to assess and develop all facets of teaching. At the end of the track, you are awarded a BKO certificate. Once you have completed the BKO certification, you are qualified for all Dutch universities. 

Do I need a BKO?

If you have an appointment for 0.5 FTE or more as lecturer, university lecturer (UD), senior university lecturer (UHD) or professor for one year or longer, you are required to be in possession of a BKO. If you were recently appointed and are not yet in possession of a BKO, you have two years to complete the BKO track. Without BKO you cannot be appointed on a permanent contract or promoted to a higher position. 

Can I teach without a BKO?

If you do not need a BKO and are still required to teach, you are expected to improve your didactic skills. You may begin for instance by following the Starter’s Course in Basic Didactic Skills offered by ICLON. Some faculties have also developed their own courses. For more information, please contact your institute manager. 

What does the BKO track look like? 

The BKO track begins with an interview with your Faculty’s BKO contact person. He or she conducts an intake interview with you on behalf of the Faculty’s assessment committee. Based on your teaching experience, the assessment committee decides which learning outcomes you already meet and which you need to develop further. You have two years to create your portfolio and complete the BKO track. The University can support you in a number of ways. Once your porftolio is complete, it is re-assessed by the committee. If you meet all learning outcomes, you will be awarded a BKO certificate, signed by the Dean of your Faculty and the Vice Rector. 

BKO portfolio

To obtain a BKO certificate, you have to create a portfolio of evidence that you meet the BKO learning outcomes. This portfolio should give the assessment committee a clear idea of your qualities. Your portfolio should in any case include the following: 

  • Student evaluations
  • Your supervisor’s assessment 
  • Reflection on your own development as a teacher
  • Advice from your colleague mentor (if you follow a training programme)

In addition, every Faculty sets additional portfolio requirements. For more information, please contact your BKO contact person. Your portfolio should also demonstrate that you meet the BKO learning outcomes.

What if I teach in English?

If you teach in English you are also required to complete an English Language Proficiency Qualification (Basiskwalificatie Taalvaardigheid Engels, BKE). The required level of English proficiency is C-1. The track consists of a test. If applicable, you will be awarded a separate BKE certificate, which you can include in your BKO portfolio. 

Where can I complete the BKO track?

You can complete the BKO at Leiden University. If you have obtained a BKO certification from another Dutch University, it is also valid. 

Support from Leiden University 

Your BKO contact person can put you into contact with a personal mentor. The ICLON also offers a number of course modules to support teacher professionalisation. Finally, the University organises regular teaching sessions.

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