This Thursday, Sofie Terwel will represent student council party VeSte in a visit to the state secretary for education, Halbe Zijlstra.
'The new cabinet plans will unfairly hit the two-year Master's students hard. So the student council parties of every technical university, including that in Wageningen, have together written a manifesto which will be presented and explained to the state secretary.'
Why this manifesto?
'The current proposals will endanger the accessibility and the quality of exact sciences education. As MSc education becomes more expensive per year, the two-year MSc programmes will become more unattractive. Most of these are in technical or exact sciences, which are particularly sought after by the community. In addition, the study load is mostly heavier, which causes science students to prolong their studies more than others do. A lot of investment has gone into drawing students to these courses in the last few years; that money would be wasted.'
What do you hope to achieve with this visit?
'We want the government to reconsider the proposed measures; in other words, don't implement them. Furthermore, if the Netherlands wants to become one of the top five knowledge countries in the world, good exact sciences programmes with many students are part and puzzle. This is another reason why the government should carefully consider the impact of its plans.'
Why don't you stage a protest?
'For two reasons. Firstly, we don't want to stand in the way of other student actions, such as minimaalnominaal.nl, because we recognize their importance. The second is a practical reason. The education budget will be discussed on Monday in the Second Chamber. We hope to be in time to influence that by our action.'
State secretary Zijlstra received yesterday the petition 'Minimal Nominal' with 100,000 signatures collected within a month.