Science - April 15, 2004

Rector wants to tighten up MSc entrance requirements

Rector magnificus, Professor Bert Speelman, has called for stricter entrance requirements for MSc applicants coming from outside Wageningen. He wants to see them introduced in 2005.

“The education institutes asked me to make a choice between quality and quantity, and I have chosen for quality,” said Speelman on 31 March during a meeting on innovation in education held by the Environmental Sciences Group. “Are we prepared to accept that we will lose applicants? My answer is yes,” he continued. “We do not want to expand so much that we become a university with big faculties. We’ll leave that to Leiden and Utrecht, and all the problems that go along with being big.” What the exact changes to the entrance requirements will be is not yet clear.

The rector made it clear however that he was not in favour of the idea of entrance selection at the bachelor’s level. “Leiden wouldn’t even have admitted Bill Gates,” said the rector jokingly, referring to a photo of the staff at Microsoft during their undergraduate time.

According to Speelman it is impossible to measure the motivation or qualities of students at the start of their university education. “We have to differentiate according to the target group. I regard self-selection as an important way of ensuring that students end up where they are most likely to fit in. That is best for the taxpayer and also what the secretary of state for education wants to hear.”

Guido van Hofwegen

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