June 24, 2016

2016 SECU Blog from Abroad – Day 4

InHolland offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and is engaged in applied research initiatives
InHolland offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and is engaged in applied research initiatives

By: Torie Johnson
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

Thursday, June 23, 2016 — What’s a Dutch University of Applied Sciences?

As we near the conclusion of our visit to the Netherlands with graduate students from the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education, today we participated in a series of presentations focused on the structure of higher education in Europe. Organizers from the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) here at the University of Twente discussed the country’s binary system that includes research universities and universities of applied sciences. The former are quite comparable to the 14 SEC member institutions, and there is no direct American equivalent to the latter, making that quite a lively discussion amongst the students.

The host venue for our session was InHolland, a Dutch university of applied sciences with six campuses and a total of 30,000 students, including 4,000 on the Haarlem campus where this week-long seminar is behind held. InHolland offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and is engaged in applied research initiatives. The overarching goal is to “educate the new European professionals for the knowledge society.”

Within the context of the binary system, our group also received an overview of the entire educational system in the Netherlands, which begins with children entering primary school by age 5 and being tracked into either a higher education or vocational track by about age 13, based on recommendations from teachers, an evaluation of test scores and parental engagement. Once students graduate the secondary level, they may take additional courses that prepare them for the labor market or begin an academic degree program.

In listening to the comments from UGA students, it appears that although the American system is more diverse in the types of institutions available and the way students may access those institutions, like other areas reviewed this week, we face many of the same challenges as our European counterparts.