News - November 20, 2015

Parliament: move Wageningen University to Ministry of Education

Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

Wageningen University and agricultural colleges should no longer be part of the ministry of economics, a majority of members of parliament thinks. Institutions of ‘green education’ loses their exceptional position.

Traditionally ‘green education’ was part of the Ministry of Agriculture, which is now part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. For many years, there has been discussion about moving ‘green education’ to the Ministry of Education, but it was never a serious issue.

In recent years green education institutions have been attracting more and more students and the Ministry of Economic Affairs does not compensate the full growth. Members of parliament think this problem could be solved by moving the green education institutions to the Ministry of Education.

The cabinet, however, sees no reason for change. Perhaps there is also a political party basis, as Resource recently wrote in their analysis: the government party PvdA offers both the Minister of Education and Secretary of State for Agriculture (responsible for ‘green education’). These two disagree on the benefits and drawbacks of a move.

The PvdA does not want to participate in the debate and therefore the VVD held the key. They could make or break the motion of D66 and the ChristenUnie. Green education should simply become part of Education, the majority of the parliament of VVD, D66, GroenLinks, ChristenUnie and SP thinks. Together they have exactly 76 of the 150 seats in parliament.

There are no clear reasons to treat the green education any different than the rest of education, the parties believe, and it will make budget decisions easier if all the education belongs to one ministry.  Moreover, it would make it easier to form bridges between green education and other education, they argue. The power of green education (on various practical and academic levels, and with strong ties with businesses) should be preserved and used ‘as inspiration for all education’, as stated in the revised motion.

The motion was voted for and received a majority of the votes. Also the PVV, Partij voor de Dieren and a few other groups voted in favour.