Agreement on use of loan-system millions: boost for small-group teaching

Over the next five years, Wageningen University will invest over 43 million euros in education quality. This is the so-called ‘loan-system money’ that became available when the basic grant was abolished. It will now mainly be spent on small-group teaching, students’ personal and academic development and helping teachers develop professionally.
Photo: Marte Hofsteenge

The university expects to get 40.3 million euros in loan-system money from the government for the period 2018–2024. The Executive Board is adding over 2.8 million euros to that, bringing the total to 43.1 million euros.

According to a proposal by the Executive Board that the Student Staff Council has agreed to, over half the money will be reserved for investments in small-scale teaching and extra supervision for theses. Around one sixth of the loan-system money will be used to further increase the professionalism of teachers. For example, a fund will be set up to compensate for the lost time and costs of attending training courses. It will also be made easier to hire support staff who can take over some tasks from teachers.

Another sixth of the loan-system money will be used for differentiation in education. That covers such aspects as preparing students better for the labour market, doing more to teach them skills and organizing more student challenges, explains Sybren Zondervan, a student member of the Student Staff Council. ‘The idea is mainly to offer more help to students so that they can achieve their personal goals. Supervision will be more intensive and there will be more options.’

Over 10 per cent of the budget will be spent on more and better study assistance, with the appointment of more study advisers and student psychologists. Money will also be spent on teaching facilities, such as MyWorkspace for students and other software licences. The final four per cent will be reserved as funding for new ideas.

The Dutch government is making expenditure of the loan-system money subject to the condition that students, staff and the university board must decide jointly what they will invest in. That is why the university organized workshops last summer with students and staff to identify the key problems and wishes.

The Student Staff Council agreed this week to the proposal for investing the loan-system money. The Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders still has to give its approval.

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