‘A good culture of quality’ and ‘the results of Nominal is Normal are of importance to The Netherlands in its entirety’. Job Cohen, president of the commission praised the quality control at EUR this Monday afternoon during his presentation of the first findings of the NVAO-commission.

It was quite a disappointment when the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation-organization (NVAO) deemed the quality control at EUR not satisfactory on a number of points last year, and therefore the so-called ‘instellingstoets’, an accreditation test for entire universities, had to be redone. A year was granted to EUR in order to bring three points of improvement to a satisfactory level: a reformulation of the vision on the quality of education; a way to have centrally available relevant figures on the quality of education and to evaluate them; and a clear policy with regard to internationalization, the embedding of research in education and multi-diversity. Wednesday 4th and Monday 9th of September, NVAO commissioners headed by former politician Job Cohen came to examine whether these conditions were satisfied.

Adequate response

“During our visit here we noticed that the judgment of the NVAO has surprised you”, Cohen says during the presentation of the commission’s findings. “And we can imagine this feeling right now”. According to the commission, the response to the judgment of the NVAO was adequate, and the three conditions were met. To exemplify, a new policy with regard to internationalization was formulated and the vision on education was made more explicit.

Nominal is normal

In particular, the increased performance due to ‘Nominal is normal’ (N=N) was appreciated by the commission. “The results of N=N are promising and important to The Netherlands in its entirety”, Cohen said. After the praising words were spoken, the judgment of the commission was not very surprising: “The three conditions are met. You have – partly due to the improvements implemented last year – created a culture of quality to be proud of.”

Characteristically Henk Schmidt

Rector magnificus Henk Schmidt was praised personally by Cohen for his vision on education: “The first thing that came to mind when reading the vision on quality of education, was: characteristically Henk Schmidt. It’s a marvelous achievement.” Schmidt and Cohen were both professor at Maastricht University during the 1980s.

Take with caution

Yet, the positive coverage should be taken with caution. The commission still has to write a report about the findings, and the NVAO can deviate from that. “We sincerely hope that the NVAO adopts the judgment”, president of the EUR-board Pauline van der Meer Mohr said in her reaction to Cohen’s words. However, after the praising words, it is hard to imagine that the NVAO will ignore the judgment. TF/LJa