Vocational universities, universities and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science enter into an administrative agreement

At Fontys Hogeschool in Eindhoven, Minister Dijkgraaf, Maurice Limmen (chairman of the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences) and Pieter Duisenberg (chairman of the Association of Universities of the Netherlands) signed the administrative agreement.

Board agreement

In the administrative agreement, Minister Dijkgraaf elaborates on the means and instruments that he designated in the political letter on higher education and science that was recently sent to both chambers.


The three parties claim that the Netherlands has a strong and accessible system of higher education and science, with high quality across the board, combined with many centers of excellence. From an international perspective, the Dutch knowledge institutions are already highly regarded; together they score as a system even better.

Three main goals

To address a number of major bottlenecks, the parties identify three main objectives of the agreement:

1. Strengthening the fund

The Minister invests in sector plans at universities, establishment and incentive grants for researchers, practical research in higher vocational education and improvement of the quality of education.

2. To make room for diverse talents

On the basis of a strong foundation, more focus will be placed on equal opportunities and student well-being. For example, institutions, companies and students work together to tackle internship discrimination. A manifesto on this was recently signed. The management agreement also aims to reduce work pressure (eg through incentive grants) and increase social security, eg by better monitoring of perceived social security.

3. Increasing the social impact

By strengthening knowledge transfer from knowledge institutions, the parties want to increase the societal effect of research. A better connection between education and the labor market will also contribute to this, for example with activities to increase access to courses in the shortages sectors of care, science and education. In higher education, there will also be a plan to keep education in shrinking regions vital.

Acute crises or shortages

An exploration of a future-proof system for higher education and research will start in the autumn. This is because the system has, among other things, to do with the demographic development: Declining enrollment in higher education in certain areas, but an increase in academic education to such an extent that bottlenecks occur there. In addition, the boundaries between scientific and vocational education and research are becoming less clear. Finally, it is very important for the Netherlands to be able to respond quickly to acute crises or shortages.


The foresight survey will start in September 2022 and be completed before the summer of 2023. On the basis of this foresight survey, the Minister will in 2023 propose statutory control instruments for the House of Representatives, which will enable universities to systematically control the international number of students without compromising internationalization.

Language teaching

It was also agreed in the administrative agreement that the universities are very reluctant to change the language of instruction in the programs to English and engage in international recruitment activities. In addition, universities proactively provide information to international students about the limited housing options in most study cities.

Minister Dijkgraaf (OCW): “A strong and accessible system for higher education and research is crucial for the Netherlands as a country of knowledge. We face great challenges. I am pleased that in this administrative agreement we have been able to make good agreements with the vocational colleges and universities, including on the way in which we will continue to involve students, teachers and researchers in the next steps. Only together can we work on a sustainable and future-proof system. ”

By: National Education Guide

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