BM71: Performance based funding in the Netherlands

08.12.2016
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Performance based funding in the Netherlands

Since gaining access to higher education is one of the most important drivers of emancipation in society, tuition fees and absence of grants slow down progress for a larger part of society. Tuition fees in the UK, IRL, ES, IT, HU, and NL are the highest in Europe.1 We as student unions will not tolerate our systems becoming (even) less inclusive. We as societies should fund young futures to further our progress, as this will benefit Europe as a whole. Currently HEI in the Netherlands get 7% of their funding through performance based indicators. These indicators work as perverse incentives and have all sorts of unwanted effects. Dropout rates have increased and the pressure on students to finish their studies as fast as possible has dramatically risen. This results in high stress among students and creates a decrease in the number of students who are willing to participate in formal and informal student representation. Extracurricular activities have also decreased. In general, this leaves less time for the personal development of students, which hinders the development of critical thinkers and valuable members of society. The effects of the indicators have been felt across the entire higher education field in the Netherlands. For example, teachers in Universities of applied sciences who bring valuable professional experience (for instance someone who worked as a journalist for 40 years and now teaches courses) have been fired because they did not have a master’s degree (one of the indicators). At the moment the Dutch government is reviewing these performances based indicators and will decide if and how performance based funding will continue. Some stakeholders want to increase the percentage or want to involve other actors than teaching staff and students. We think they are best equipped to decide how the quality of education can be improved. ESU calls upon the Dutch government to end performance based funding because of its perverse effects on students, staff and institutions. Furthermore, private actors should never have a say in the allocation of government funding of HEI. This so the private sector cannot influence the core freedoms of HEI. 1https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/mwikis/eurydice/images/5/58/EN_Fees_and_sup port_2016_17.pdf

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