“There is a clearcutting going on in education”, Forum leader Baudet stated last night in his victory speech. And: “We are being undermined by our universities.” Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66) took to Twitter on the morning after the elections to condemn his remarks. “We should protect academic freedom, not place it under suspicion.”
Baudet’s statements are no surprise. A poster by Forum’s youth organisation caused quite a stir last summer; it appeared to incite students to violently oppose their ‘leftist lecturers’.
Only this past month, Baudet announced an inquiry into the “influence of left-wing ideology in education” during an evening sitting of his party in Bergen op Zoom. “We are going to map it all.” Apparently, previous research conducted by the Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen did not suffice.
Dutch newspaper NRC reports that Baudet feels that school pupils and students are exposed to ‘far left’ lecturers, teachers and educational materials. Forum would apparently strive for a cultural transformation. The NRC also quotes Baudet saying “All cultural and societal institutions in the Netherlands are infiltrated by left-wing activists to a significant degree. We need to, slowly, start getting our people behind those desks.”
Baudet recognises even more threats to higher education. He abhors the ‘anglicisation’ and voted for a rejected proposal by the PVV to reintroduce Dutch as the main language for education and research in the bachelor phase of the humanities.
Study grants and selection
Forum would like to reintroduce the basic student grant and is against the interest rate increase on student loans. Furthermore, the funding system for higher education should be changed; this can be read in the party programme. Universities of applied sciences and academic universities should no longer be judged on the number of diplomas they’re handing out; instead, student registration numbers should determine their level of funding.
Registration numbers might drop, however, as Forum would like to introduce a “strict entry selection”. They feel that this selection needs to be highly transparent. A (rejected) proposal by the SP to study the different selection methods for their efficacy, was approved of by Baudet and his party colleague Hiddema, as was the (accepted) proposal by D66 that demanded master programmes to scientifically substantiate their selection criteria.