In her opinion, the current government has already spent hundreds of millions more on higher education and research and the next government must “do at least the same”. She calls additional investment “imperative”.
But that will no longer be possible in the current government’s term of office, as she said last year. The funding will have to be fought for during the negotiations to form the next government.
The minister was speaking at Radboud University Nijmegen, where she studied in the 1980s. Then, like now, there was an economic crisis and there was also an “enigmatic disease” going round, she said. Namely AIDS.
“The malaise of the 1980s gave way to the 1990s,” she added. “If that history repeats itself, it will be down to the persistence shown by all of us.”
But in the meantime, studying has taken on a different form than you had hoped. The minister appealed to everyone, but specifically to the first-year students: “You have started your academic lives. The beating heart of that life is the contact with your fellow students and lecturers.”
That’s why students have to come up with ways to get together, “within the framework of what is allowed,” she said.
What will she be doing between now and the election? She is still working on a proposal for “greater stability in the funding” of higher education, so that universities of applied sciences and universities have less need to compete for student numbers.
The greater stability in funding must “go hand-in-hand with more permanent contracts,” she stated in her speech. “Corona has proven once again that Dutch academia’s greatest resource, its people, has been offered too little security for years.”