6 April the Alarm Day for Science

Dutch universities are 1.1 billion short

In order to draw attention to the structural underfunding of universities in the Netherlands, students, teachers and other stakeholders have sounded the alarm on 6 April. ‘We’re struggling to keep our heads above water’, was the message for The Hague.

In order to get the Netherlands back to a Normal Academic Standard, a structural investment of €1.1 billion extra per year is needed. On 6 April, the Alarm Day for Science, activities also took place in Maastricht and UM’s Executive Board wholeheartedly supports the initiative.

"This is the moment”

Harro van Lente
Harro van Lente

Professors Harro van Lente and Lies Wesseling took the lead in Maastricht for the 'Normal Academic Level' campaign. Van Lente explains why he was doing so and what he himself feels about the pressure on academic education.

"This is the moment, with the current coalition negotiations, to let The Hague know that the academic education system is struggling, to say it mildly. An inventory by Price Waterhouse Coopers, conducted at the request of the ministry, confirms the structural underfunding. That 1.1 billion euros on an annual basis is needed for more lecturers, for example. In the past twenty years, the funding a university receives per student has decreased by 25%, while the number of students has grown by almost 70%. As department chair, I hear how my colleagues have to make strange choices. For example: am I going to invest my time in giving decent feedback to students on the last course I gave, or am I going to spend that time on the new course I am setting up? You should be able to do both, of course."

  This is the moment, to let The Hague know that the academic education system is struggling   

On the other hand, the professor sees a lot of time and money flowing away in the ‘overblown accountability culture’, for example in the form of teaching visitations, but also the low success rates for requested research grants. "We keep each other very busy in Dutch science in the wrong way, and that puts people in a tight spot. It is time for a Normal Academic Level."

'We’re struggling to keep our heads above water’

In these four video statements, UM lecturers describe the effects of the funding shortfall. How a lack of money leads to complicated dilemmas and a loss of educational quality.

Antonia Waltermann
Teacher Foundations and methods of Law | Faculty of Law

"Having to abolish a very useful mid-term review for students" 

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