Good, better, best. At first the Dutch government wanted universities to concentrate their finest brains in graduate schools, in order to train PhD students and the like. Since nearly one hundred graduate schools have emerged during the past years, the government now wants to limit financing to a creme de la creme selection out of the existing schools. Scientists are beginning to criticize the overkill of top grades, boards and platforms which are necessary to regulate successful cooperation between science and large companies in order to improve the performance of the Dutch economy.
The path of Dutch farmers is not strewn with roses at the moment. Rose cultivation in Africa is an emerging market. Market gardeners in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Zambia, most of them whites, are exporting their roses to the Dutch flower auction for sale in Europe. Last year, 247.5 million roses from Africa were sold in Holland. Dutch gardeners - always proud to supply a global market - tried to ban the African roses, but the auctions will continue dealing with African roses, says student J. van den Berg, who has studied the rose trade.
The Dutch IBG bank, which supports student grants, has built up a bad reputation. The bank was annoying students with piles of special forms, complex regulations and its goal of controlling students expenditure. Special branches in university towns had to offer support to the students, by explaining how they should deal with the forms. They were the eyes and ears of the bank, which itself was a big computer that was fed by hundreds of typists. In 1994 this policy changed. The bank wants less forms and wants its branches to arrange students requests and changes immediately, without involving the central bank. Client first is the new adage.
WAU's financial registration system Millennium, which was introduced in the beginning of this year, is still not functioning. The Executive Board is now proclaiming a new date by which the most pressing problems will be solved: August. The University Council, which had not been informed about the introduction problems, now wants to know who is responsible for the delayed introduction. Board member Van den Hoofdakker, who is formally responsible, but has no knowledge of information systems, should solve the problems quickly or leave, some Council members say.