After a government has fallen, the House of Representatives votes on which topics are controversial and therefore not to be dealt with until after the elections. The thinking is that some matters are best handled afterwards.

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How can it be that the BSA is deemed controversial, but English-taught programmes aren’t?

Tuesday afternoon, the House of Representatives will declare the plans for a more…

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A tight majority of the House of Representatives’ education committee voted to add the binding study advice (BSA) to the list of controversial topics. Of the 28 committee members present, fifteen voted in favour.

The House of Representatives still needed to conduct an official vote on the complete list of controversial topics, including those submitted by other committees. This happened on Tuesday.

The D66 party proposed removing the BSA from the list again. The intention was for the new BSA rules to enter into force in the 2025-2026 academic year, but that is already quite soon. If the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science were to pause preparations for this now, it could take a year to start back up. D66 would prefer to keep these preparations going. “A new House of Representatives can tackle this proposal after the elections and amend it if so desired.”

The motion had the support of CDA, GroenLinks-PvdA, SP, PvdD, BIJ1, Volt, DENK, the independent members Den Haan and Gündoğan, and obviously D66 itself. Together, they represent 78 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.

But the CDA member René Peters confirmed to newspaper Het Parool that his party had made a mistake. “That’s on me – I fouled up.” He wants to correct his error as quickly as possible. The next opportunity to vote to declare the binding study advice controversial is on 26 September.

Keeping up the study pace

Many study programmes in higher education use a binding study advice. If first-year students fail to earn enough credits, they have to leave. Opponents of the BSA believe that it puts undue pressure on students, but supporters see it as a good motivator for laggards.

Previous attempts to relax the BSA met with resistance in the House of Representatives, so Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf proposed a variant designed to do two things: reduce pressure on students and keep up the study pace. His proposal: reduce the minimum number of credits required in the first year to 30, but maintain that minimum in the second year as well.


Student unions ISO and LSVb begged the House of Representatives on Tuesday to continue working on the matter, but universities in particular are staunchly opposed to a change to the system.

They believe it is important to be able to dismiss students if they underperform, and fear that a relaxation of the policy could lead to an increase in work pressure. This is because weaker students would remain enrolled in the study programme for longer.

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Minister’s view on BSA discussion: student well-being most important factor

Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf will not be swayed: if it’s up to him, the binding…