Nieuws - 10 februari 2011

Students will be hit after all

At the end of January, both students and professors protested loudly about the Cabinet's plans. But what is the current status? And how are the protests going? We summarize the news reports for you.

1 February - Halbe Zijlstra is not budging an inch in response to the students' protests. In the proposed legislation he sends to Parliament on 1 February, he retains the fine of three thousand euros as of 1 September for students who spend too long on their degree. The scheme also applies to current students. This means the State Secretary is disregarding an advice given by the Council of State.
3 February - Zijlstra gives up his plan to fine the universities as well for the tardy students. The Council of State considered this an unreasonable measure as the universities have insufficient influence on the speed at which students study. OK, says Zijlstra, then the universities will just have to come up with those 190 million euros together according to an allocation formula (as yet undefined). The angry Association of Universities of Applied Sciences says this just shows what Zijlstra's real intentions are, namely making cutbacks whatever it takes.
4 February - Various academics in the field of constitutional law claim in the media that the courts are likely to reject the tardy students' fine for the current student population. After all, you cannot change the rules of the game halfway through. Zijlstra does not expect this to be a problem. In his opinion it would be unfair to make an exception for the current students.
7 February - Of course it was only a matter of time before we got the classic 'occupying a building' protest. On 7 February, demonstrators plant their flag on one of the buildings of the University of Amsterdam. They call it the 'University of the Future'. They are gone again within a couple of hours. Students in a number of cities announce similar protests.
7 February - It would seem the politicians are not too happy with the impact of that procession of protesting professors. In an interview with the De Volkskrant newspaper, the Education Minister Marja Bijsterveld hits out at them by saying that they should have been in the lecture rooms. She says professors do not spend enough time teaching. It is not clear what that allegation is based on.