Universities to get tougher

Dutch universities are planning to introduce a range of measures, including compulsory attendance at lectures, in an effort to boost standards, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

The increasing international competition in higher education is forcing Dutch institutions to make changes, Sijbold Norda, head of the universities’ association VSNU, says in a briefing to junior education minister Halbe Zijlstra.
As well as making lectures and exams compulsory, the universities want to reduce the number of retakes and increase student selection.
At the moment, students automatically get a place on the course of their choice, apart from in very popular subjects such as medicine and law.
The universities also want to introduce a broader bachelor’s degree system and an honours degree programme for exceptional students – which the association says would involve around 10% of the total student body.
Ministers are due to discuss Zijlstra’s own plans to improve higher education standards at Friday’s cabinet meeting.
Zijlstra has already announced plans to increase fees for slow students.