Although higher education institutions have all sorts of counsellors, study and career counsellors, study advisors and psychologists, it is often unclear to students with functional impairment whom to contact for special arrangements. The Dutch Lower House feels that education institutions must do a better job of helping them find the right kind of help by properly coordinating the available assistance. According to a GroenLinks spokesperson, it is up to the universities and universities of applied sciences themselves to determine how this coordinated assistance is to be funded.

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Marian de Groot, the Director of the Handicap en Studie Centre of Expertise, said she welcomed the motion. “Many students have noticed that people lack knowledge of their functional impairment.” For instance, students with reading disabilities require teaching materials in a large font, while students with autism or ADHD often have difficulty planning things.

A spokesperson for the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) said that most Dutch universities offer a great deal of support to students with functional impairment. VSNU will now wait and see how the Minister for Education deals with the motion. “We’ll take a good look at what the universities are currently doing and what can be improved first. First we’ll look at the facts, then at the plan.”

For its part, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences said the motion was “a nice initiative”. Like VSNU, the Association will wait and see how the Minister for Education chooses to give effect to the motion. “Educators provide referrals to doctors, and by calling them ‘care coordinators’, we run the risk of making it sound like education institutions also provide care,” the Association’s spokesperson said in writing. The Association feels that several types of organisations should help fund “such help desks”.