Studies must be useful

Soon, study programmes will have to prove that they are useful and will not leave grads jobless.

motion along these lines by MPs Pieter Duisenberg (VVD) and Paul van Meenen (D66) has been accepted by the Lower House of Parliament and education minister Bussemaker.

Duisenberg had previously proposed evaluating current study programmes based on their usefulness and necessity. ‘If the files at the UWV (social benefits agency) are full of people who have all done the same study, you should think about how relevant that study programme is.’


There are study programmes which have higher rates of unemployment yet remain very popular, the VVD MP notes. That has to change, he feels. In particular, the information provided to students has to be improved. ‘Research has shown that the information given is sometimes too optimistic. It is not only important for universities of applied sciences and research universities to attract students, but also to offer them prospects after the study programme.’

For example, programmes such as journalism and psychology should undergo provisional evaluations, Duisenberg feels. Previously, minister Bussemaker expressed that she would not hear of it. She felt that the monitoring was ‘far too much hassle’. ‘If we were to implement this, it would be an enormous bureaucratic burden’, she replied during a debate in the Lower House of Parliament.

Nevertheless, she accepted the motion. She wanted to review the performance of the Committee of Efficiency in Higher Education (CDHO) which evaluates study programmes for their relevance, and this motion suited that purpose well, Bussemaker later concluded.


The motion from the VVD and D66 is based on the proposal by the Dutch National Students’ Association (ISO). The organisation is pleased with the result. ‘There are study programmes which knowingly attract excessive amounts of students with unrealistically rosy future prospects. At the moment, study programmes are not liable for the promises they make. This motion will change that.’


Photo: Flickr, Matthew Hurst