Minister’s plans to reform higher education slammed

1st September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Three out of four major parties in parliament are against the education minister's plan to change the higher education system.

The Hague – Dutch Minister of Education Ronald Plasterk’s proposal to reform the higher education system has been opposed by three out of the four major parties in parliament, reports NOS tv.  

The minister’s proposal of looking into a new system of higher education aims to reduce the clear distinction vocational education and university degrees is supported only by his own Labour Party.

On Monday, Plasterk announced he is looking into a new system of higher education and would be ready to report on his findings in spring 2010.

The minister believes the current set-up is too rigid and does not meet the needs of all students. He also feels it is old-fashioned to differentiate between people who follow an academic degree and those who choose vocational courses.

However, the proposal has been slammed by Liberal, Christian Democrat and Socialist MPs which believe it is important to make a distinct separation between academic universities and vocationally-based colleges.

Universities educate people to an academic level, which is different… (from vocationally-based collages). We should cherish this difference,” said Jasper van Dijk of the Socialist Party.

VVD spokesman Halbe Zijlstra Plasterk agrees and added: At the moment, HAVO graduates continue their education at HBO, whereas VWO graduates go to university. Plasterk's proposal would mean that the secondary school system also needs to be revised.

THE HAVO and VWO are different streams of secondary schools in the Netherlands.

However, the minister’s proposal is supported by higher education organisations such as the HBO-council and the universities.

As more students are entering higher education as seen in the sharp increase in number students, there is a need to relook at the entire education system.

Terpstra Doekle president of the HBO-council says that the border has long been reached and it is good that the minister wants to debate the matter.


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