Dutch Students Protest Against Education Cuts
Around 15,000 Dutch students protested in The Hague last Friday.
They raised their voices against the cabinet proposal to cut hundreds of millions of Euro in education and research for the next three years.
The protest was the biggest one for the last 23 years.
The government’s plan targets the students who are delaying their study. They believe this will help improve the quality of education.
[Halbe Zijlstra, State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science]:
“And if you study one year longer for your bachelor and one year longer for a Master’s degree, then nothing will happen. But if you study longer than one year indeed a higher contribution of money will be asked from those students. So we can invest in quality of education, which will benefit all the students.”
However, the students do not agree with that thinking:
“If I want to do something extra besides my study, what I’m also trying to do, I need to study one year longer for my bachelor. This means that if I don’t pass one subject, I have to pay 3,000 Euros. I think this is ridiculous.”
Labor Party Leader Job Cohen supports the students.
[Job Cohen, Dutch Labor Party Leader, PvdA]:
“The Labor Party is for investment in education, for investment in research, and for investment in innovation, and that helps us all”.
Earlier that day eleven hundred rectors from all the Dutch Universities proceeded through the center of The Hague in full academic dress opposing the Government’s plan.
After that they held an academic meeting. Such a gathering was the first in Dutch history.
The rectors expressed their concern about the future of the knowledge economy in the country.
[Philip Eijlander, Rector Magnificus of Tilburg University]:
“That will take lots of jobs away as it was said today. I think a lot of teachers but also talented young researchers will lose their job in the universities. That is unfavorable for the future of Holland, because Holland must live with knowledge economy”.
The two protest groups left a very clear message to the Government.
But whether the plan goes into effect is still up to the new cabinet.
NTD News, Holland