Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe

Netherlands

Stakeholder Survey Overview

As part of our research we carried out a survey of Education & Training stakeholders. Find the results of this survey below or download it..

Legislation & Policy Overview

The following section gives an overview of the national PHE environment within Netherlands. The profile was completed by Vlaamse Hogescholenraad.

Section A: General Profile of PHE

1. How is PHE defined in your country?

The higher education system in the Netherlands is based on a three-cycle degree system, consisting of a bachelor, master and PhD. Dutch higher education has a binary system, which means that you can choose between two types of education: – research-oriented education, offered by research universities; higher professional education, offered by universities of applied sciences.  Two types of programmes (bachelor and master) are offered: research-oriented degree programmes offered by research universities, and professional higher education programmes offered by universities of applied sciences.  A research-oriented bachelor’s programme requires the completion of  180 credits (three years) and graduates obtain the degree Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (BA/BSc), depending on the discipline. A bachelor’s degree awarded in the applied arts and sciences requires 240 credits (four years), and graduates obtain a degree indicating the field of study (for example, Bachelor of Engineering, B Eng, or Bachelor of Nursing, B Nursing).

Commentary: Our system explained in a diagram (with the EQF and right to access for each level) http://www.studyinholland.nl/files/documents/education-system/dutch-higher-education/diagramdutchhighereducationsystem.pdf.

1.1 What is your nationally recognised definition of a PHE Institution?

As mentioned we have two types of higher education. – research-oriented education, offered by research universities; – higher professional education, offered by universities of applied sciences. An University of Applied Sciences.  Universities of applied sciences offer programmes that focus on the practical application of arts and sciences. These tend to be more practice oriented than programmes offered by research universities and they prepare students for specific professions.

1.2 Are there any specific requirements towards PHE Curriculum/Course?

In the Netherlands de NVAO (Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie) deals with the evaluation and judgement on the internal quality assurance system of Universities (the academic and the applied sciences universities).  The national system:  The following overarching mission has been formulated for the national quality assurance system: The system contributes to the development and innovation of professional practice, education and society as a whole, by means of structure and explicit attention for the permanent evaluation and improvement of the quality of research and the knowledge development, knowledge application and knowledge circulation based on this.  The concrete objectives of the system are as follows: – To safeguard and improve the quality of research and the organisation surrounding it – To strengthen the position and image of practice-based research – To generate management information for the university of applied sciences and the sector – To account to government and society on how public resources are spent.  Interest and interested parties:  As such, many parties have an interest in the quality assurance system. Firstly, the individuals involved within the universities of applied sciences: directors/governors, professors, management, staff, lecturers and students. Secondly, primarily professional practice, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Science as the sector organisation, society and the government. As such, the system will be developed (and be subject to ongoing development) and implemented in close collaboration with these interested parties.  Three connected elements:  The system consists of three connected elements:   1. The quality assurance systems in place at the universities of applied sciences, including the external independent evaluation of research units.  2. A national validation committee that will validate these quality assurance systems every six years.  3. Annual monitoring of the development and results of research at universities of applied sciences.  Evaluation every six years:  The quality assurance systems in place at the universities of applied sciences form the point of application for the joint quality assurance system. The evaluation of research units – these could be professors, groups and/or knowledge centres – by independent evaluation committees are key here. Each research unit will be evaluated once every six years. These evaluations will be effected by committees consisting of external independent experts, such as professors, researchers and stakeholders. The Board at a university of applied sciences will be responsible for the composition and creation of these committees.  Once every six years, the quality assurance system in place at a university of applied sciences will be evaluated and validated by a validation committee for research quality assurance (this committee is still to be created). This committee will use a self-evaluation and an audit based on this self-evaluation to form an opinion on the functioning and performance of the quality assurance system in question.  Monitoring national development of practice-based research.  Finally, the universities of applied sciences will jointly monitor the national development of practice-based research. They have placed this task with the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences. The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences publishes an annual progress report on research at universities of applied sciences. This report provides information to the relevant ministries, to politicians and to society as a whole.  Within the UAS:  Via the sector protocol, it has been agreed that each university of applied sciences will be responsible for its own quality assurance policy, which will lead to the evaluation of selected research units (research groups, groups and/or knowledge centres) every six years. The sector agreements on evaluation relate to the nature and content of the self-evaluation reports to be delivered and also to the composition of the evaluation committees and the remit to be issued to these committees.  An external independent evaluation of a research unit will be preceded by a self-evaluation. This will result in a self-evaluation report. On the one hand, the self-evaluation report must provide a factual overview of the unit in terms of objectives, organisation, composition, activities and results. On the other hand, the report will answer a number of critical questions in relation to the achievement of the mission and objectives applicable.  As regards the first – factual – side, the self-evaluation report (including addenda) will provide a proper description, insight into and overview of:  ■the mission for the research unit  ■the research themes and the research portfolio  ■the research profile in terms of academic standards and research methods and techniques  ■the embedding and positioning of the unit within the institution from an organisational, strategic and HRM point of view  ■the size of the unit in terms of people and (financial) resources  ■the quality of the researchers, expressed in education, degree, experience and ancillary activities  ■the collaborative arrangements and substantive relations applicable within the university of applied sciences, as well as externally with organisations, institutions and companies, at a regional, national and international level  ■the publications, presentations and other products that research by the unit has yielded recently  ■data on impact and appreciation of the research in relation to: ■knowledge development within the research domain  ■professional practice and society  ■education and training.  By way of an introduction, the self-evaluation report will also include a substantiation of the self-evaluation in terms of approach, method, parties involved, etc. and a concluding cohesive final analysis in the form of strengths and weaknesses, improvement measures and priorities for the time ahead.  The self-evaluation reports are used as input for dialogue with the external evaluation committees. These committees consist of independent experts. Independent is defined here as independent from the research unit to be assessed. However, the institution can opt to include a constant element in the committee (for example, an internal auditor or a permanent secretary) in order to promotes the comparability of the various research evaluations. The term experts refers to peers (professors and researchers) and stakeholders, representative for:- the education related to research – the relevant professional practice – the relevant research domains – the relevant international environment.  Based on the self-evaluations, possibly supplemented by other reports that the institutions consider relevant, the evaluation committees, which will consist of peers and stakeholders, enter into discussion with the research units to be evaluated.  The independent evaluation committee should answer the following five evaluation questions:  1.Is there sufficient relevant productivity, impact, appreciation and recognition in terms of:  ■knowledge development within the research domain?  ■valorisation to professional practice and society?  ■significance for education and training?  2. Is work undertaken on the basis of a relevant and challenging mission and a clear research profile?  3. Are the mission and the research profile secured by the portfolio and by the way in which in which the unit has been organised?  4. Is the deployment of people and resources sufficient from a qualitative and quantitative point of view?  5. Are the internal and external collaborative arrangements, networks and relations sufficiently relevant, intensive and long-term?   See also this document.

2. Which EQF Levels does PHE cover?

EQF Level 5 – Yes
EQF Level 6 – Yes
EQF Level 7 – Yes
EQF Level 8 – No

3. Which governmental bodies are responsible for governance of the PHE sector? Do these differ from the governance of AHE? Is there any engagement of any other public authorities and which, if so?

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is responsible for legislation pertaining to education and finances > The agriculture and public health ministry’s play an important role in monitoring the content of study programmes in their respective fields. The Ministry of Economic finances a small bit of the agriculture higher education .

4. Quality assurance: Please provide information on quality-related legislation (national QA/accreditation system, regulations concerning QA at institutional level etc.). Are there any specific QA criteria for PHE? If so, which (if necessary, refer to specific EQF levels or institutions)?

A guaranteed standard of higher education, and alignment with the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area, is maintained through a system of legal regulation and quality assurance, in the form of accreditation.  Quality assurance is carried out through a system of accreditation, administered by the Accreditation.  Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). The NVAO is independent with the primary goal is to provide an expert and objective judgement of the quality of higher education in Flanders and the Netherlands.  According to the Dutch Higher Education Act, all degree programmes offered by research universities and universities of applied sciences must be evaluated according to established criteria. Programmes that meet the criteria are accredited: i.e. recognised for a period of six years. Only accredited programmes are eligible for government funding; students receive financial aid and graduate with a recognised degree only when enrolled in, and after having completed, an accredited degree programme. All accredited programmes are listed in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes (CROHO).

Commentary: The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) is the independent accreditation organisation set up by the Dutch and Flemish governments, whose primary goal it is to provide an expert and objective judgement of the quality of higher education in Flanders and the Netherlands.

5. Are there any specific funding mechanisms/principles/criteria for PHE, different from general HE principles?

The Dutch law reads as follows (sorry in Dutch):  Titel 2. Bekostiging  Artikel 2.5. Rijksbijdrage aan instellingen voor hoger onderwijs  1. De rijksbijdrage waarop de in artikel 1.9, eerste lid, bedoelde aanspraak betrekking heeft, wordt berekend op de grondslag van een algemene berekeningswijze. In afwijking van de eerste volzin kan de rijksbijdrage worden berekend op de grondslag van een bijzondere berekeningswijze, voorzover dit voortvloeit uit de artikelen 5 en 7 van het Verdrag tussen het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden en de Vlaamse Gemeenschap van België inzake de transnationale Universiteit Limburg (Trb. 2001, 38).  1a. In afwijking van het eerste lid kan de rijksbijdrage worden berekend op de grondslag van een bijzondere berekeningswijze:  a. voor de universiteiten voorzover het betreft onderwijs gericht op het beroep van leraar voortgezet onderwijs van de eerste graad, of  b. voorzover dit voortvloeit uit de artikelen 5 en 7 van het Verdrag tussen het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden en de Vlaamse Gemeenschap van België inzake de transnationale Universiteit Limburg (Trb. 2001, 38).  2. Onze minister kan aan de bekostiging van onderzoek aan universiteiten voorwaarden verbinden, verband houdend met de kwaliteitszorg.  3. De rijksbijdrage wordt jaarlijks door Onze minister vastgesteld in overeenstemming met het desbetreffende onderdeel van de voor dat begrotingsjaar vastgestelde rijksbegroting.  4. Indien het in het derde lid bedoelde onderdeel van de voor het desbetreffende begrotingsjaar vastgestelde rijksbegroting wordt gewijzigd, wordt de rijksbijdrage door Onze minister nader vastgesteld.  5. De rijksbijdrage wordt betaald volgens een door Onze minister te bepalen kasritme.  6. Zolang de rijksbijdrage niet is vastgesteld of nader vastgesteld, wordt daarop door Onze minister een voorschot verstrekt. Het vijfde lid is van overeenkomstige toepassing.

6. Are there any formal requirements for stakeholders, in particular from the part of the professional sphere/employers’ representatives concerning their engagement in PHE steering and provisions? If so, in which areas (governance, quality assurance, curriculum development, students’ placement etc.)?

No answer provided.

7. Are there any other legislative differences between PHE and other HE institutions (e.g. partnership with enterprises, regional involvement etc.)?

UAS have a different outlook, they aim at education professionals, meaning that in theory there should be (more) contact with the region and with SMEs and business.

8. Is PHE limited to some specific branches and/or fields of study? If yes: Which ones?

No, this is not the case.

Section B: Teaching & Staffing

1. Are there any formally set requirements for academic staff teaching at different levels in PHE (e.g their qualification, expertise, selection & appointment)? Are they different from AHE?

No answer provided.

2. Are there any specific requirements for PHE staff work (teaching/research) arrangements and workload? If so, which? How do they differ from AHE?

Workloads are set in cao’s.

3. Are there requirements to include non-academia (professionals) to teach in PHE institutions? What qualifications must they have if any?

See the document on country module Netherlands

Section C: Curriculum

1. Are there any specific requirements as regards contents/structure (e.g. percentage of practically oriented modules) as regards PHE? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

The universities of applied sciences (in Dutch: ‘hogescholen’) offer programmes that focus on the practical application of arts and sciences.  Getting practical work experience through internships is an important part of the professional study programmes offered at these institutions. The largest universities of applied sciences enrol 20,000 to 40,000 students. Altogether some 416,000 students are enrolled on professional programmes.  Duration of study programmes  Master (M): 1-2 years  Bachelor (B): 4 years.

2. Are there any specific requirements as regards practical elements of PHE study programmes (e.g. work experience/Practical placements/Internships)? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

Getting practical work experience through internships is an important part of the professional study programmes offered at these institutions. In contrary to AHE. The largest universities of applied sciences enrol 20,000 to 40,000 students. Altogether some 416,000 students are enrolled on professional programmes.  Some masters in PHE require having a workcontract (duale master).

3. Are there any other legal requirements specific for PHE programs?

Yes, some UAS have a selection procedure.  E.g: Arts, teachers education (mathematics test) and student can be asked to leave the UAS if they have not required the minimum ECTs.

Section D: Research & Technology Transfer

1. What is the involvement of PHE in R&D&I&TT activities? Are there any formal differences at different levels/institutions of PHE?

History – Although universities of applied sciences have been engaged in research activities for some time now, the introduction of professors [lectoren] and their research groups [lectoraten] at universities of applied sciences in 2001 has meant that the research function is gradually becoming more structural. A research group works together to promote knowledge development and knowledge circulation in relation to a certain theme within and beyond a university of applied sciences, in the interest of education, professional practice and society as a whole. The year 2001 was also the year in which the Knowledge Development Foundation for Universities of Applied Sciences [SKO] was created, on the basis of a covenant [lectorenconvenant] between the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The main tasks applicable for the SKO are to issue subsidies on the basis of a quality assessment of applications for research groups submitted by universities of applied sciences. In 2003, the research group is given a strong boost with the introduction of the so-called SIA-RAAK regulations. These regulations are intended to promote knowledge circulation between regional parties, particularly between knowledge institutions like universities of applied sciences, SMEs and public institutions.  In 2004, the professor covenant was updated to include a quality assurance system to be introduced with effect from January 2009, amongst other things. This is linked to the new funding system, under which research resources are granted to universities of applied sciences in the form of a lump sum. With the introduction of the new covenant, the assessment of quality by SKO ceases and is replaced by the quality assurance system.  In 2007, the general meeting of the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences formally adopts the sector protocol for research quality assurance. This adoption marks the agreement on a joint definition of research at universities of applied sciences and on the contours of the quality assurance system to be developed.  Extent of Research – Since the introduction of professors, their numbers have grown quickly from slightly more than 20 in 2001/2002, via more than 100 in 2003/2004, to more than 250 in 2006/2007. In 2008, the Netherlands has almost 400 professors. Nevertheless, with less than 400 professors (for 380,000 students) and a total research budget of approximately 75 million (lump sum and the Knowledge Development Foundation for Higher Professional Education/SIA), the extent of research can be called ‘modest’ for the time being.  In 2004, the Lectorenplatform (professor platform) was created. During the first stage of the development of research groups, this platform is responsible, in collaboration with the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, for external communication and for profiling research groups. In 2008, this platform was followed by the more network-oriented forum for practice-based research [Forum voor praktijkgericht onderzoek]. This forum plays an important role in the further design, positioning and development of research groups.  Nature of UAS Research – In the sector protocol, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences makes a clear choice for the joint designation and definition of research at universities of applied sciences. By using the term practice-based research as the umbrella term for this research, the sector protocol is giving preference to this term above other terms such as applied research and design-oriented research. These terms do less justice to the nature and diversity of research at universities of applied sciences.  Practice-based research is defined as research that is rooted in professional practice and that contributes to the improvement and innovation of professional practice. This is achieved through the generation of knowledge and insights, but also through the provision of usable products and designs and concrete solutions for problems in the field. Added to this, this research is usually of a multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature and is embedded in a range of internal and external organisational contexts, while retaining the academic reliability and validity of the research itself. Research is closely connected to education, via its contribution to education activities, lecturer professionalisation and curriculum innovation. Because the research done has relevance for – and an impact on – professional practice, education and the broader society, knowledge is circulated and published via a very wide range of channels and to various target groups.  With these characteristics, practice-based research complies with what is referred to as Mode 2 of knowledge development. The term Mode 2 refers to research that, in contrast to Mode 1 research, is less bound by traditional disciplines, and that is effected more in the context of applications. This research is performed in networks of experts from the field and networks of researchers and (as such) the quality of this research is assessed by a number of parties. This is based, on the one hand, on the recognition that scientifically valid research is concerned and, on the other hand, on the basis of the recognition that its impact on education, professional practice and society is the most important gauge for the quality of this type of research.  Research quality – Besides academic standards is the excellence of practice-based research is measured particularly on the basis of the relevance and impact of research within professional practice, education and society as a whole. Incidentally, the evaluation and assessment of research on the basis of these perspectives is still in its infancy (worldwide). To date, emphasis in quality assurance systems elsewhere (English, Australian and Dutch universities, for example) has always focused strongly on the quality of research in the sense of scientific and academic impact.  So, traditionally, this impact is measured particularly on the basis of publications, citations and peer reviews. Within these countries and systems, steps are already being taken to find indicators and evaluation methods that place the importance and impact of research in a broader perspective. The Netherlands has a reasonable lead in this respect. For example, the ERiC platform (Evaluating Research in Context) has been created. The parties involved in ERiC include the Association of Universities in the Netherlands [Vereniging van Universiteiten (VSNU)], the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences [Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschapen (KNAW)], the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research [Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)], the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. These organisations work together to promote knowledge exchange and method development (at both a national and international level), with a view to more context-oriented research evaluations.  Diversity and Variation – Because of the diversity and variation that exists between universities of applied sciences and domains, the system leaves responsibility for quality assurance, including the performance of evaluations on research units, with the individual universities of applied sciences. The idea behind this is to promote a situation where it is possible to achieve optimal alignment between the nature and extent of quality assurance and structure, culture and (quality) policy within a specific university of applied sciences. Added to this, professors and other researchers must experience quality assurance as something for which they are responsible and which does actually promote quality. Finally, the system must do justice to the individuality of every research domain and sector.

2. Are public research programs restricted to some types of HEIs (e.g. academic sector)? If so, what are the criteria?

See above.

Section E: Recognition & Credit Transfer

1. Are there formal differences in the enrolment process into PHE and AHE?

Yes, some UAS have a selection procedure.  E.g: Arts, teachers education (mathematics test) and student can be asked to leave the UAS if they have not required the minimum ECTs.

2. Are there formal paths for transfer from PHE into other HE programmes (for graduates, during the study)? Are there automatic transfers for students between PHE and AHE? Do students need bridging programmes or other means of transition?

See the diagram Dutch Eduaction system.

3. Are there any specific regulations concerning employment of PHE graduates? Do you need to justify delivery of certain PHE studies? e.g provide evidence of labour market needs or collect data on employability of graduates).

No answer provided.

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