Thirty percent of university lecturers are teaching students without having undergone teacher training. Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (Intercity Students’ Association, abbreviated ISO) wishes lecturers to be required to undergo such training.

In 2008, Dutch universities agreed that where possible, lecturers should undergo teacher training and obtain a so-called basic teaching qualification (“BKO” in Dutch). However, judging from a survey carried out by ISO, three in ten university lecturers are still teaching without having obtained the requisite diploma.

'Teaching without training'

‘Teaching primary school children takes four years’ training, but university lecturers are allowed to start teaching without any training.’

Jan Sinnige, voorzitter ISO

“Students must be able to rely on their lecturers being certified teachers,” says ISO President Jan Sinnige in a press release. “Teaching primary school children takes four years’ training, but university lecturers are allowed to start teaching without any training.”


In 2013 the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) conducted a similar survey. Since then, the number of properly certified lecturers has risen spectacularly, but ISO is not yet satisfied. There is room for improvement, particularly among PhD students and student assistants.

Not satisfied

The PhD students themselves agree that they should be better prepared for their teaching duties. Half of PhD students are dissatisfied with the level of support they receive with regard to teaching, and only 11 percent attend BKO courses, or parts thereof, a study carried out by ISO (among other parties) showed half a year ago. Yet most PhD students would like to attend such courses; over 90 percent feel they should be enabled to obtain their basic teaching qualification.

'No correlation with student satisfaction rate'

It should be noted that NRC Handelsblad recently found that there is no strong correlation between universities’ percentage of qualified lecturers and their student satisfaction rate. For instance, at Groningen University, 85 percent of lecturers have obtained their basic teaching qualification, but the university’s student satisfaction rate vis-à-vis its lecturers is about average.

Eindhoven University of Technology’s students are a little happier with their often unqualified lecturers, while Wageningen University’s students are extremely satisfied with their lecturers, the majority of whom (52 percent) are not certified teachers.