“It’s a real pity, but this is an exceptional situation”, stated spokesperson Gert-Jan Box from Studiekeuze123 foundation, which organises the annual NSE. “The survey was supposed to start on 20 April and, technically, we were all set to go.”


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Law also scored poorly last year, but current students appear even less satisfied with…

The corona crisis threw a spanner in the works. In consultation with the universities and student unions, the minister took the decision to cancel the NSE. There were various reasons for this. The universities were concerned that too few students would complete the survey. It’s normally completed by one in three students, but the number of respondents would probably be far fewer now.


Another factor is that students have different ideas about their study programme than usual. “You could ask them to complete the survey focusing on the situation prior to the corona crisis, but would they manage that?”, stated Bos.

Moreover, universities need to supply the necessary student details (e-mail addresses and study programme details) and some were not happy about this. They’re currently doing everything possible to keep education going online, so extra work for the survey is something they could well do without.

Not the biggest problem

There was understanding for the NSE cancellation in the House of Representatives. SP Member Frank Futselaar is ‘a huge fan’ of the survey. “Last year, when there were problems with the survey relating to the new data protection legislation, I urged for universities to be obliged to cooperate with the NSE.” The House of Representatives and Senate unanimously agreed with that.

Futselaar used to be a lecturer at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. According to him, a big selling point of the NSE is that it gives lecturers and employees an idea of what students are pleased or less pleased about over a period of time. “But in the current situation, the survey results would be incomparable with those of previous years. More importantly, you can’t demand that universities cooperate on this right now.”

CDA Member Harry van der Molen also thinks it’s a pity for prospective students that the survey won’t go ahead this year. “But on the other hand, that’s not the biggest problem facing higher education right now. Hopefully, we’ll have better luck next year.”


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“There’s not much more we can do”, stated Alex Tess Rutten from the National Student Union. “University communication departments are really overwhelmed by the corona crisis. However important the NSE is, providing information to students about online lectures and examinations comes first.”

The LSVb is ‘a bit grumpy’ that the universities didn’t get started with the NSE a bit earlier this academic year. “If the survey hadn’t been postponed until April or May we’d have had the results in by now.”