Speaking at the Opening of the Academic Year held in the Aula last Monday, Kristel Baele, the President of the Executive Board, said: “We want the Netherlands make its name for itself worldwide as the most important pioneer in people-oriented digitisation.”

According to the President of the Board, Erasmus University is to present the plan, A Plan for a Digital Society, Where People Matter, with the other Dutch universities next Monday.

The fourth Industrial Revolution

Baele sees digitisation as the greatest challenge of the coming years. “Last spring, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, everyone agreed that digitisation would be the fourth Industrial Revolution, a revolution that will fundamentally change the way we live and work.”

The changes will affect education too. “The switch to digitisation threatens the knowledge-intensive professions for which we train our students. Some jobs will undergo drastic changes while others may even disappear”, Baele claims.

Assessing the questions

Bastiaan Verweij, spokesman for the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), explained that the intention is to make an assessment of all the questions raised by digitisation. “It’s usual to focus on those sorts of questions in business and government circles. We want to investigate them and adapt them to suit the needs of scientific research.” More details of the plans and its purpose will be published on Monday.

Erasmus University is already well on its way to digitisation, as evidenced by the various MOOCs and the creation of a university-wide vision on digitisation, which is to be presented in the autumn.