Students who act as carers, who have young children or who are members of a participation council may soon pay their tuition fee on a credit by credit basis. Last week the Dutch cabinet agreed to just such an experiment.
Students currently pay their tuition fee year by year, while circumstances sometimes mean they take less than a full quota of courses. In the experiment recently announced, students will be able to plan their education as they see fit. The proposal was made by the VVD and PvdA, who devised the plan together with the student organizations ISO and LSVb. The University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences are both keen to put it into practice.
The Education Minister Ms Bussemaker sees the plan's potential but warns that only a limited group of students will be allowed to participate. ‘Because if you want intensive education, it will never be possible to offer everyone an arrangement like this.’ She now wants to investigate whether 'flex studying' makes higher education more accessible and whether it reduces student drop-out. Perhaps it also makes students more satisfied and gives them more opportunities for self-development.
The Dutch National Student Union (LSVb) is positive, but has voiced a criticism. ‘This wouldn't even be necessary if the tuition fee was lower,' says chair Jarmo Berkhout.
The Lower and Upper Houses will have the opportunity to comment on the experiment and the Council of State will also consider it.