At Erasmus University Rotterdam, the postgraduate master’s programme City Development was rated unsatisfactory. This study programme has until the end of March 2017 to get back up to the proper level. The performance of the master’s programme in Media Studies was also rated substandard on a previous occasion; this programme has until the end of May this year to achieve the necessary improvements.

Increase in yellow cards

According to the NVAO, universities have a great deal of work to do. In 2015, there were quite a few unsatisfactory ratings among pedagogy study programmes and research master’s programmes. In total there were 24 such ratings, representing 11 per cent of all study programmes subjected to review.

Higher professional education (HBO) performs better

While there is room for improvement by universities according to the NVAO, a ‘clearly rising trend’ is discernible in the HBO sector according to NVAO Chairman Anne Flierman. Study programmes were rated downright ‘good’ instead of just ‘satisfactory’ twice as often, and the HBO sector received only five unsatisfactory ratings compared with fifteen last year.

Since 2011, the NVAO gives study programmes one to two years to achieve the necessary improvements. Prior to this, a study programme was required to shut down immediately if it didn’t pass the review. This was considered so severe that it almost never happened. This caused the weak areas in the education sector to remain below the radar.