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In the future, University College students will have to do withless luxurious surroundings than was planned. The grounds aroundthe former Kromhout Kazerne were originally designed to breath acarefully arranged, park-like atmosphere. These ambitions will haveto be modified due to the Utrecht City Council's decision towithhold the five million guilders subsidy for furnishing thegrounds that Utrecht University had asked for. The 3.8 million setaside by the university is not enough to prevent econony measuresas to items like benches, lamp posts, and pavements.

Plain campus

Merger

Colleges of higher education and universities can merge,Education Minister Hermans said at the opening of the academic yearin Eindhoven. Up till now mergers of that kind were illegal.Hermans did stipulate that the difference between a universityprogramme - scientific education - and a "hbo" programme -vocational training - should remain visible. This distinction hasbecome rather blurred over the past few years. The University ofAmsterdam and the Hogeschool of Amsterdam, for instance, have beenin close cooperation for some time now.

Choice of programmes

Pupils opting for language studies or a technical education atuniversity, usually do so because they are interested in thesubject matter. Last autumn, the Research Centre for Education andLabour Market carried out a survey among 110.000 school-leavers,asking them what they based their choice for a certain programmeon. The survey reveals that "alfas" and "b├Ętas" are not reallyinterested in what the future can offer, whereas the school-leaversopting for a career in law or economics do so with a view toprospective earnings.

New programmes

The universities will no longer have to ask the ministerpermission to set up new programmes by themselves, as was the caseup till now. This week Minister Hermans said as much at the openingof the academic year in Eindhoven. He intends to back away fromthis procedure and allow the universities to proceed without havingto prove to him the `usefulness' of the new programme; they onlyneed to prove that they offer good quality education. Theuniversities welcome this step by the minister. "A university isnot likely to put money in a programme that nobody wants, studentsnor employers," said J.Veldhuis, chairman of the Utrecht UniversityGoverning Body.