For years there has been talk about the structural underfunding of higher education, but for just as many years nothing structural has been done about it. That must change. It is time to strive for a Normal Academic Standard in the Netherlands: adequate funding for universities, with no need for gaps to be filled by overworked teachers and without students ending up the victims, receiving less feedback, less support and fewer contact hours than they are entitled to.
An additional €1.1 billion is needed annually. This has not only been established by the universities themselves, but it was also confirmed in an extensive study into the funding of higher education by PWC, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science itself. This was not news to us, but its publication was a good reason to gather together a broad coalition and state loud and clear that the papering over of the cracks is finished. So this campaign is not only being carried out by WOinActie, but also by the umbrella organisation of Dutch universities, by the student unions LSVB and ISO, and by the trade unions.
Personally, I can’t believe that some continue to see education purely as an expense. Education is the best investment you can make – an investment in young people and in knowledge, and therefore in society as a whole. Politicians often do not seem to look beyond the budget for next year. But we can’t afford be so short-sighted. These corners cannot continue to be cut, because in the end you get what you pay for.
I hope everyone will support our action and I call on the new cabinet to structurally allocate the €1.1 billion extra needed for higher education.
Geert ten Dam, president of the Executive Board