Dirk Van Damme, senior counselor at the OECD Directorate for Education, torches the Van Rijn report and the subsequent redistribution of the Dutch higher-education budget in favor of technical universities. In an interview with Scienceguide, Van Damme points out no data is provided to support the notion that TUs are getting more applications than they can handle. “I’d like to know how many students are actually being sent away,” says Van Damme.
The education expert adds that the inadequate analysis by the Van Rijn committee could never justify the measures the government took. He suspects the committee was pressured to arrive at its findings and recommendations while maintaining the appearance of performing an independent inquiry.
Van Damme also points out that in the modern labor market, the correlation between education and subsequent profession is weakening. Many graduates end up in different jobs or sectors than one would expect based on their education. Looking at it in a ‘linear’ fashion is outdated, according to Van Damme.