Image: Nino Maissouradze

Cabinet does not want to discourage online education

Universities, colleges and MBO institutions can decide for themselves whether they will teach online. On further consideration, the cabinet does not want to draw up guidelines for the use of distance learning. Something where the AOb argued for: the choice for digital education should be made by the teacher himself.

That stands in a letter that ministers Dijkgraaf and Wiersma sent to the House of Representatives. Last autumn, the cabinet promised to draw up a 'framework for assessment', but that has not been forthcoming.

AObchairman Tamar van Gelder has several times by mail urged the cabinet and the House of Representatives to abandon such a 'framework for consideration'. It affects the autonomy of the teachers to determine their own education and thus goes against the Act on the profession of teacher. This law applies to basic education and senior secondary vocational education. In HBO and WO lecturers have the freedom to determine the content and method of the education given within frameworks. 'An assessment framework can be experienced by many teachers as a management tool and can also be used as such by administrators or school leaders', says Van Gelder in the letter.

'An assessment framework can be experienced by many a teacher as a management tool and can also be used as such by administrators'

So give the teachers confidence, was the message of the AOb-chair. They can decide for themselves whether to use physical or online education. The education ministers are now responding to this by not drawing up guidelines.


Online education has taken off in the corona crisis and some institutions are seeing the benefits: they don't want to go back to the situation before the lockdowns. Politicians are looking at it with suspicion, because perhaps administrators will use distance learning because it is cheap?

Recently, for example, this seemed to be the case at the University of Groningen. Energy prices would lead to a new assessment of the use of online education and working from home.

Maybe drivers will use distance learning because it's cheap?

Do not mix

However, the government does not want to get involved in that discussion. In MBO and higher education, a great deal of knowledge is available 'about the well-considered use of distance learning', the government believes, and there are sufficient guarantees for the quality of education. Moreover, the institutions were already working on innovations.

Programs make their own assessments, and students can also influence this through employee participation. There are laws, but otherwise the educational institutions are autonomous. 'The quality of education should always come first when considering a form of education', the letter states.

'The quality of education should always come first when considering a form of education'

For secondary vocational education there is a helping hand including tips for distance learning, but not for higher education.


And the situation in Groningen? In view of the rising costs of gas and electricity, the University wants to use energy more efficiently, and the institution is also thinking of hybrid working and 'blended' education, reported the ScienceGuide website.

SP en Green Left asked written questions, but the minister is far from passing judgment on the situation. The impact of rising energy prices on educational institutions mainly depends on their variable or permanent contract, and the RUG itself must also know how it organizes education.

'Blended education is already part of the educational vision of the University of Groningen, which is why there is no reason to enter into discussions with the University of Groningen now', says the minister.

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