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Seventeen universities signed the so-called performance agreements with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) on 29 October 2012. These agreements establish concrete measures for improving teaching and research.

Gunning en Zijlstra
Halbe Zijlstra and Louise Gunning (photo: Xandra Baldessari)

The intention of the performance agreements is that they will lead to less study completion delays, a more ambitious study culture, better teaching and students being better matched with degree programmes.

 

The UvA has, among other things, set a target of increasing the number of students completing their Bachelor’s programme within four years by four percent annually, with the aim of reaching a 70 percent completion rate by 2015. The number of student droputs and transfers in the first year also needs to decrease significantly. Moreover, 90 percent of all lecturers with a fixed contract will need to have a basic teaching qualification by the end of 2014. Better matching of students with degree programmes will be achieved by improved intake procedures, such as ‘immersion weeks’, during which interested secondary school students can accompany first-year students to gain first-hand experience of University life.

 

Louise Gunning, preisdent of the UvA Executive Board, signed the agreements on behalf of the University. The UvA has hereby secured a sum of over 13 million euros in central government grants. The cabinet guarantees, with the signing of the performance agreements, that the ambitious plans will receive the necessary funding and legislative support.

 

‘We are pleased that we were able to make arrangements that are in line with our strategic plan. In this way, we are strengthening our efforts to create an ambitious study environment and improving the quality of teaching,’ said Louise Gunning. ‘We look forward to continuing down this path with the next cabinet.'

 

Five percent of the education budget is linked to the achievement of performance targets, and thus subject to the achievement of the agreements as of 2016. Another two percent is linked to the objectives set in the profiling of the universities.

 

The performance agreements were approved by the Review Committee last September, which advised the State Secretary. The UvA received praise, in particular, for its plans with regard to academic success rates, improvement of lecturers, shifting its budget towards successful research groups and the extensive network of partners and the direct implementation of knowledge from scientific and medical research in practice.