Verhagen, the Minister for Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, says the merger of the Van Hall and Larenstein institutions is going as it should.
'The Van Hall Larenstein applied university Board and Directors are working on the organizational and qualitative modernization of their institution', writes Verhagen. 'They have informed me of the developments and I support their wish to ensure a good fit between the education on offer and the requirements of the business community. Safeguards for the quality of education are seen as a precondition for this. Due consideration is also being given to the position of staff.'
The merger does not really involve an increase in scale, according to the Minister, because the two institutions have actually been "functioning as a single institution" since 2003. As of 1 September, the former Van Hall Instituut in Leeuwarden and the Larenstein University of Applied Science in Velp will not only have joint governance, they will also really be a single institution. The Employees' Council has given its consent, says Verhagen. The Merger Evaluation Act, which allows the Minister to evaluate whether a merger is justified, only comes into effect on 1 October.
The reason for the Parliamentary questions was the unrest at the University of Applied Science after the suspension of education programme director Hans van Rooijen. The Employees' Council passed a vote of no confidence in director Ellen Marks, but she has the support of the Chairman of the Executive Board Aalt Dijkhuizen. There was an administrative merger of VHL with Wageningen University and the DLO institutes in 2004.