Fall of the cabinet: which plans will be put on hold?

What plans will be continued is to be put to a vote after the summer.
The House of Representatives will decide what plans are to be declared controversial after the summer break. Photo Foto Shutterstock

Now that the cabinet has fallen, the big question is which plans will be implemented and which plans will be put on hold for the next cabinet.

Outgoing Minister Dijkgraaf had many plans, but the fall of the cabinet may well thwart some. Students and teaching institutes feel that some plans cannot be put on hold. What plans are these?

Binding study advice

Dijkgraaf aims to relieve the pressure on students by easing the binding study advice. Students would require 30 points in their first year and another 30 in their second year.

Universities hope that the House of Representatives declare this topic controversial, as it would result in a decision on the plan being postponed until a new cabinet has been installed. ‘It is a bad plan, in our opinion’, says Ruben Puylaert, spokesperson for the umbrella organisation UNL.

Student organisations ISO and the National Student Union, on the other hand, hope that the binding study advice will be eased. ‘It could really contribute to lowering the performance pressure on students’, says ISO chair Demi Janssen.

The VVD, which currently holds the most seats in parliament, is critical of the plan. Hence, the topic will likely be declared controversial.


And then there are the plans for international students and language. Universities have been calling for management instruments to get a grip on the influx of international students. A numerus clausus, for example, to restrict the number of students enrolling in the English version of a programme, and an emergency brake in cases where too many students from outside of Europe enrol. Wageningen does not have these issues, Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol and Dean of Education Arnold Bregt stated earlier this year. They underscored that international students are ‘always welcome’ at WUR.

The current plans for internationalisation include rules about the teaching language and ‘centralised management’. The universities are less enthusiastic about these plans; if it were up to them, these plans should be put on hold.


ISO, in particular, lists many other topics that students want to keep on the table. Improving codetermination, for example. Janssen: ‘There are four motions, including guidelines on remuneration and facilities. We hope they will be implemented.’

There is a chance that these plans will come into effect as almost the entire House of Representatives supports the plans, and implementation thereof does not require a legislative amendment.

Flexible studying

ISO also feels that the ministry should continue its work on the legislative proposal on flexible studying (studying at your own pace and paying per credit). The House of Representatives urged for such a law. ‘Flexible studying can be of value for certain groups of students, such as student entrepreneurs’, says Janssen.

This topic could, however, be declared controversial, or the minister may call for a pause. Dijkgraaf wanted to see flexible studying as part of an extensive exploration into the future, and to what degree he will respond to the findings presented by the research agencies remains to be seen.

Social safety

Dijkgraaf also announced stricter rules and laws for social safety at universities and university colleges. The boards should report every incident of sexual assault by an employee against a student. Filing a report is currently only mandated in cases where the student is a minor. In addition, the university may no longer demand a non-disclosure agreement in cases where a settlement is agreed upon for the victims.

At least, this will be the case if the plans come into effect. ISO hopes that the House of Representatives will not thwart the process and allows the outgoing minister to implement these plans. ‘Students should feel supported’, says Janssen.


The House of Representatives is in recess until 4 September and wants to wait until then to decide what topics are to be declared ‘controversial’. Parties have a while to consider. The official vote will take place in the week of 12 September.

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