In her Princes Day speech today, the Dutch queen not only spoke about the economic crisis, budget cuts, health care and safety, but also touched on the subjects of education and scientific research.
There have been years in which education and research were only mentioned in passing, if at all, in the queen's speech, traditionally delivered on the third Tuesday in September to the members of the States General. This time it was different.
There was nothing new left for Queen Beatrix to announce, as the entire budget had already been revealed. So her speech focused mainly on the way the government sees the measures it plans to take. It appears to see education and science primarily in economic terms.
'It goes without saying that future economic growth is closely linked to our capacity to go on learning', said the queen. 'Good education is fundamental for our country's competitiveness, and it gives people the opportunity to develop their talents. For these reasons, the government seeks to improve the quality of our education.'
The queen also said a few words about the increased financial burden on students. 'Students in higher education will be facing a higher own contribution. The income raised like this will be invested in better and more intensive education programmes. The government is making arrangements with all the universities to concentrate programmes, promote excellence in research and assure a good fit with the requirements of the job market.'