EP: Protest against Plasterk’s ‘botch job’

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Last week, some 150 students demonstrated in The Hague against the cutbacks of Education Minister Plasterk.

Protest against Plasterk’s ‘botch job’

The students of the ROUW Committee (Save Our University Education) protested against the so-called ‘Plasterk cutback’. Recently, the minister withdrew 100 million euros from the university budgets and placed it in the hands of science sponsor NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) in order to distribute the amount. According to Plasterk, this will now stimulate better research, but the students find it a hidden cutback – on teaching.

“The Plasterk cutback will work out unfavourably,” says Physics student from Nijmegen Frank Hemmes of the ROUW Committee. “I have already noticed the effects in my own faculty. The university is saving on student assistants and appoints fewer permanent employees. The temporary researchers who work on NWO projects are often less involved in teaching.”

The money was not intended for teaching in the first place, says Plasterk after having received the ROUW petition. “The 100 million euros will end up in the same place it came from: it has been withdrawn from research and will flow back to it.” As a matter of fact, government is investing more in education: “We are spending an extra 350 million euros every year.”

That is not enough, according to the students. They demand a ‘financial injection’, or else they will be back in September. “With a far less modest demonstration than this one. There are many more unhappy students, but they are studying for their exams at the moment.”