The Netherlands enthusiastic about (open) online higher education
According to Jet Bussemaker, the Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science, the use of open and online education will make it possible to improve the quality of education and teaching material in the Netherlands. In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, the Minister explains that the deployment of new technologies will provide new possibilities for the design of communication and teaching modes between teachers and students.
The Minister elaborates that (open) online education can be complementary to existing education in Dutch higher education. In addition, she supports European developments in this area, notably the European Commission’s communication ‘Opening up education’ and she seeks active collaboration with her European colleagues. With a budget of 1 million euro per year, she wants to stimulate the development of more open and online education within higher education institutions. She would like to stimulate: 1) the international reputation of Dutch higher education in a number of profiling areas through the development of MOOC's, 2) cooperation between Dutch higher education aimed at improving education through the use of open and online education and 3) thorough evaluation of the experience with open and online education in the Dutch context (with the condition that the results are freely available).
The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) appreciates the message of the Minister. Universities in the Netherlands have been actively engaged in the development of open education and are positive about the possibilities the Minister offers them to fit (open) online education into their own profile. For universities, (open) online education can give an extra boost to the quality of education and it will give them the opportunity to offer better access to education to a diverse groups of students.