The Guide to Higher Education has declared Wageningen to be the best university in the Netherlands for the thirteenth year in a row. Despite the growth, students are still very satisfied about the quality of Wageningen education.
© Sven Menschel
Wageningen scores above average in almost all areas – more often than not with an ‘excellent’ score, as reported in the Keuzegids 2018 (Guide to Higher Education 2018) that is published today. According to the guide, education in Wageningen is ‘still intensive, personal and both challenging and application-oriented’, despite the ‘doubling number of first-year students every ten years’.
A beautiful result, says Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol. ‘A grand compliment to our staff, who have been able to perform at this level despite the work pressure and a lack of financing from the government.’
The gap between Wageningen University and other universities is widening. Last year, Wageningen scored 74.5 points. The Open University and Eindhoven University of Technology were in second and third place with 73.5 and 64 points, respectively. This year, Wageningen scores 76 points, with number two on the list following 13 points behind.
According to Mol, the Dutch government should now allot additional financing. ‘Wageningen is the benchmark the other Dutch universities compare to. The fact that we are declared the best years on end compels the government to finance us as such. This result is the consequence of hard efforts. The work pressure is high, you can hear the system cracking. We will not be able to keep this up without additional funds.’ One of the options Mol considers is introducing enrolment restrictions on certain programmes.
The absolute highlight of Wageningen is Plant Sciences. This programme received 94 points. But students of other programmes are also extremely satisfied about the level of educational materials, the quality of lecturers and the facilities. Fourteen of the nineteen programmes in Wageningen have been declared top programmes, which means they scored at least 76 points.
Last year, Wageningen had seventeen top programmes. This year, the students of Economy and Policy, International Development Studies and Landscape Architecture and Planning were less satisfied with their programmes. ‘These programmes still received good scores. One should see this in perspective’, says Mol. However, he will investigate why the scores have dropped this year. ‘We can still improve in the Social Sciences. We have recently invested in this area, for example by alleviating the work pressure.’