Departing Utrecht University rector calls for better selection of students

Universities should be able to get rid of poor students more quickly than they can at present, Trouw quotes the departing rector of Utrecht University as saying.

In his farewell speech, Bert van der Zwaan, also made a plea for stronger selection procedures, saying that ‘a lot of students walking around here should be an at hbo college instead’.

Too many students are failing to complete their degrees, Van der Zwaan said, referring to the current drop out rate of 25%.

Selection is one way of making sure the right students are taking the right courses. ‘I support it. At the moment we do not have legal recourse to put pressure on students who should not be at university,’ he said.

‘Politicians always go for the safe option: we want the most students, the best education, no selection and it can’t cost too much. But of course, that can’t happen.’

Student organisations told Trouw the former rector’s comments are worrying. ‘We have a different vision about what a university is,’ Rhea van der Dong, chairman of the ISO, said.

‘Do you simply want the best students or do you want students who might be average now but who can get top marks with the right leadership? I would say the second option is better for society.’

Universities can already select students for master’s courses and for more popular courses, such as medicine and psychology. And students who do not pass enough exams in their first year can also be sent down.

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