BM72: European Student Union (ESU) Master application in the Netherlands

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European Student Union (ESU) Master application in the Netherlands

On 28th September 2001, the Dutch government agreed on the implementation of the bachelor-master structure in Higher Education (HE). The aim was to provide for better recognition of Dutch students in European HE, but also to ensure more flexibility, mobility and freedom of choices. Fortunately, sixteen years later the European Student Union (ESU) recognizes progress on all of these aims.

However, along with the good things that the new structure has brought, some worries have arisen.  The lack of regulations within the law give the institutions too much freedom on the implementation of the master application procedure.

First of all, there’s an increasing number of selective masters in the Netherlands, and as such students are being excluded from the master they want to study. ESU perceives that besides a proper bachelor diploma and sufficient language qualifications, institutions also select students on their grades, motivation and curriculum vitae. In some case the selection is on the cost of the student. Secondly, the institutions use selection methods that lack in transparency, websites are misleading and minority groups are being neglected or even ignored. Research shows that first generation students in many cases are not confident enough to apply for selective masters.
ESU emphasizes the importance of the accessibility of Higher Education and sees the current procedure without any frameworks and regulations from the government as a danger to all European students who want to do their masters in the Netherlands.

ESU shares the concerns of student organizations across Europe that the current selective system should be better regulated.  Since gaining access to higher education is one of the most important drivers of emancipation in society, strict application procedures slow down progress for a large part of society. ESU therefore asks the Dutch government to actively regulate the system to improve accessibility of master degrees.
In conclusion, ESU wants to prioritize the maturity and prosperity of students with a full bachelor degree. Therefore, ESU believes that universities should trust those students on their capabilities of making thoughtful choices.


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