Foto: Maartje Strijbis (UvA)

UvA Board in open letter to minister: ‘We must stop thinking in terms of efficiency’

Dirk Wolthekker,
7 juni 2018 - 15:22

The UvA Board sent an open letter to minister Van Engelshoven (Education, Culture & Science) and to the Parliamentary Committee for Education, Culture & Science (OCW) calling for more money in the budget and a stop to the planned cutbacks. ‘We must stop thinking in terms of efficiency.’

Despite much protest, the so-called ‘efficiency cut’ of 183 million is still on the table, as well as a potential extra cut of 135 million due to setbacks in the OCW budget. ‘The UvA cannot bemore efficient. The structural underfinancing of education and research in the education sector has been temporarily resolved by our staff working harder and for longer hours. In this same period, however, we have also been working under increased pressure to demonstrate efficiency gains.’

In its letter, the Board refers to the funds of the old loan system that are due to be reinstated over the next years, but which it fears will be of little use. ‘Due to the budget cuts, only 7 of the 152 million of student loans will exist in 2021. While students study faster and follow more courses, government grants per student have dropped by 25 per cent in fifteen years.’

The directors also write that research-intensive education, something which characterises education at the UvA, has also come under pressure. ‘While student numbers rise, the budget for research has remained the same. Education and research are becoming increasingly divergent.' And there are problems considering the recently concluded sector agreement. ‘An extra 60 million euros has been invested in beta and technical research whereas only 10 million has been set aside for the social sciences and humanities. That is far too little.’