The Studiekeuze123 Foundation and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands, VSNU, have contradicted the severe criticism levelled at them with regard to the information they have presented to prospective students. They are confident that the investigation requested by the Dutch House of Representatives will exonerate them.
The information provided to prospective students to help them compare studies is too rose-tinted and overly coloured by the educational institutions’ own marketing materials, De Keuzegids and DeDecaan.net stated yesterday in a scathing report. They received support from politicians and the nation-wide students’ association ISO.
'The allegations are emphatically incorrect'
The report presents examples of overly optimistic wage figures, outdated data on the job market and even information which was omitted. However, the Studiekeuze123 Foundation, whose board members are representatives of educational institutions and students’ associations, rejects the criticisms levelled at the report.
Definitions always allow multiple interpretations, and job prospects, wages and graduation percentages can be presented in different ways, the Foundation stated in a written response. “However, the allegation that we only chose to present the prettiest figures is an oversimplification and emphatically incorrect.”
Job market analysis
The Association of Universities in the Netherlands, VSNU, also found fault with the criticisms. Among other things, VSNU refuted the claim that the WO-Monitor survey presenting figures on university graduates’ job prospects is not publicly available. VSNU publishes a labour market analysis every two years, which can be accessed by the public, “as can the underlying data”, which are always submitted to Data Archiving and Networked Services (which is affiliated with the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) and are available for inspection there.
Frank Steenkamp, Managing Director of C.H.O.I., stated that he is familiar with these figures, but does not find them very useful. “They are very rough data, which can only be traced back to individual studies with a very great effort and with a significant risk of errors. Why doesn’t VSNU compile all the data in such a way that they can be understood and used by well-trained lay people? The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences does exactly that with the HBO-Monitor, which is, moreover, published each year.”