Since 2007, the universities have been successfully working on improving their performance. They have done this by making the education programmes more structured and by demanding more from students with regard to their efforts and results. All of these measures, which had a broad base of political support, were taken in order to increase both the number of graduates and the speed of graduation. These measures have borne fruit. More information about the performance agreements can be found here.
In 2012, the increased attention to academic success resulted in the establishment of performance agreements with the government, which gave the impression that the universities solely focus on academic success rates. Although this perception is false, it is clear that a new balance has to be struck between focusing on output and monitoring the quality of content. There is therefore little enthusiasm amongst the universities to establish another set of detailed performance agreements.
No new top-down performance agreements
The universities wish to conduct a discussion with the university community in order to agree on the effective expenditure of the funds that will be made available from 2018 onwards as a result of the student loan system. This discussion between staff, students and administrators at each university must result in an individual education investment agenda that is used as a basis for allocating the funds brought in by the student loan system. Continuation or development of new performance agreements that hold the universities accountable to measurable indicators is extremely undesirable. The process that the universities would like to see is much better than top-down performance agreements, as students and lecturers know far more about specific educational challenges and issues than the government does. The resources from the student loan system must be spent on more intensive education, more and better supervision of students, further professionalisation of lecturers, and suitable study facilities.