New Dutch government sworn in as sector braces for more curbs

 In News

Dick Schoof was sworn in as the Netherlands’ prime minister on July 2, along with his cabinet

Putting a stop to “excessive internationalisation” high on new education minister’s priorities

Universities of the Netherlands said consequences to this could heavily impact scientific research in particular

Over six months after Geert Wilders’ PVV party gained the most seats in the election, the coalition of far-right PVV, former ruling party VVD, populist farmers party BBB and centre-right NSC was agreed in recent weeks, with NSC’s Eppo Bruins taking up the mantle of Minister for Education.

Unfortunately for the sector, it looks as if Bruins’ priorities lie in putting a stop to “excessive internationalisation”, as he put it in one of his confirmation hearings.

“He wants to get started… with the Internationalisation in Balance bill,” Simone Hackett, lecturer and researcher at The Hague University of Applied Sciences explained to The PIE News.

The Internationalisation in Balance bill, first introduced by former Dutch education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf on May 13 – before the new cabinet was officially sworn in – purports to “make it possible to better manage the mobility of international students”.

It aims to “strike a balance between preserving the added value of internationalisation”, but also to “maintain the quality accessibility and efficiency of the Dutch higher education system” – something various bodies are already saying is unfair to the sector.

“The new Dutch government’s austerity measures do not just target internationalisation but also education and research as a whole.

“The cuts are detrimental for higher education and research and have not been met without opposition,” Hackett said, citing various protests from students and universities alike.

The Universities of the Netherlands, the organisation representing various institutions across the country, said in a letter that more than 5,000 jobs are expected to be lost with the introduction of the bill alongside other cuts to HE and research.

“The UNL argue that the cuts have consequences for progress in scientific research and also on the economic position of the Netherlands.

“UNL also argue that the cuts might lead to the Netherlands becoming less attractive to top scientific talent from abroad and also the Netherlands becoming less successful in attracting European research subsidies,” Hackett relayed. UNL is also said to want to “enter into immediate discussions” with the new education minister.

These developments are a clear indication that all is not well in the Netherlands

Simone Hackett, The Hague University of Applied Sciences

The minister himself has had a career of ebbs and flows. He has switched parties multiple times, jumping from the Dutch Christian democrat party CDA to the centrist CU in 2010 before joining NSC.

He insisted that he would “safeguard the rule of law” when asked about his loyalties in the confirmation hearing.

“As Minister of Education, Culture and Science, I will safeguard freedom of education, academic freedom and freedom of the press based on the rule of law. That is what I stand for and I will not budge an inch.

“I have every confidence that this will happen, because we have concluded a general agreement,” he said in his testimony.

UNL insisted in its letter that scientific research would be especially impacted, as well as the Dutch “economic position and our strategic autonomy”; the body also noted a “huge risk” of higher workload due to various cuts.

“These developments are a clear indication that all is not well in the Netherlands,” said Hackett.

“University students, academics and administrators are pushing back and will not accept the proposed measures without unrest.”

The post New Dutch government sworn in as sector braces for more curbs appeared first on The PIE News.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt