D66: ‘Abolish selective admissions immediately’

Universities have to stop using selective admissions procedures immediately. ‘It is a shady process’, D66 (Democrats 66) MP Paul van Meenen feels.

Universities abuse numerus fixus for degree programmes in order to improve academic performance or quality of education. According to Van Meenen, they only accept the very best students. ‘That is complete nonsense. You do not improve the quality of a hospital by only accepting patients with ingrown toe nails. This system is not desirable’, he said during a Lower House debate on Wednesday.

Van Meenen is of the opinion that decentralised selection is a process characterised by ‘shady discussions and back-room politics’. And students can also cheat, he says. ‘What a magnificent motivation letter. Did your father come up with that all by himself?’ I don’t want that!’


Higher education institutions should thus switch to a lottery, says the D66 MP. This is the ‘least bad option’, according to Van Meenen. ‘A lottery is an entirely fair process in which your gender or origin is not taken into account’, he said.

His plans were not immediately met with enthusiasm. The PvdA (Labour Party) does not think it would be desirable to go back to a system ‘which the D66 itself was against’. A draw would do ‘a disservice to the motivation of students’, according to MP Mohammed Mohandis.

The SP (Socialist Party) ‘broadly supports’ the proposal, says SP MP Jasper van Dijk. CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) member Michel Rog can see a draw working for some situations. ‘But I do not want to commit to it straight away. We have to carefully look at which programmes require the setting of national standards and which programmes require regional standards.’

Minister Bussemaker has yet to comment on the proposal.

Update: Minister Bussemaker intends to stick with selection. According to her, it is preferable to holding a lottery. Furthermore, she believes that because degree programmes have already taken steps to prepare for selection, it would be wasted effort if implementation did not move forward.