Paul van Gerven
12 February

Dutch universities and higher vocational education institutions (HBOs) might be allowed to randomly select students again. Random selection was outlawed in 2017 and replaced by selection based on grades, motivation and personality. Recently, however, concerns have emerged that this type of selection fuels inequality. Addressing these worries, Education secretary Ingrid van Engelshoven Monday said she’ll consider reintroduction of random selection.

Politicians and education experts point out that a whole new industry has come into being to prepare prospective students for the selection process. These services are generally out of reach for applicants from less well-off families, thus decreasing equal opportunities.

Student selection occurs at a limited number of programs that can only accommodate a limited number of students. Introduction of such ‘student stops’ at technical universities over the past few years raised eyebrows. Van Engelshoven announced a TU budget in response but has since backed down.