Researchers and university professors are mobilizing to resist significant cuts in the higher education sector proposed by the right-wing coalition.

Platform WOinActie views these plans as a "threat to higher education."

Professor Rens Bod from Amsterdam, speaking on behalf of the platform, emphasized the importance of the next education minister in shaping the future of higher education. Bod and his colleagues are working to persuade the upcoming Cabinet that investment in higher education, science, and research is crucial for society.

"Science makes invaluable contributions to our society, economy, and culture," Bod stated. "To showcase this, we're organizing a science festival in October. Additionally, we plan to hold an alternative academic year opening in September. Our approach is to engage positively and convince the Cabinet. However, if these efforts fail and the proposed plans proceed, we'll have to consider more drastic actions."

Bod highlighted the possibility of strikes as a potential next step. The incoming coalition parties, including PVV, VVD, BBB, and NSC, aim to implement significant budget cuts in higher education. These cuts amount to 215 million euros annually for education, with over one billion euros to be withdrawn from the research and science fund.

One controversial proposal is the reintroduction of a 3,000-euro penalty for students who exceed the standard duration of their program by a year. The national student union, LSVb, expressed shock at these plans and is preparing for activism in response.

WOinActie argued that the proposed cuts would be tantamount to shutting down a major Dutch university. The platform warned of negative repercussions for training students in professions already grappling with shortages, such as teaching, medicine, law, and engineering. Photo by Vysotsky, Wikimedia commons.