Negen op de tien studenten kent langstudeermaatregel

Van de universitaire studenten weet 95 procent dat het kabinet de langstudeermaatregel wil invoeren en van de hbo-studenten is 83 procent daarvan op de hoogte.

Dat schrijft staatssecretaris Zijlstra in antwoord op kamervragen van de PvdA. Studenten worden volgens hem goed geïnformeerd over zaken die financiële gevolgen voor hen kunnen hebben. Zo heeft DUO hun een brief gestuurd over de langstudeermaatregel, maar ook over de strengere controles op fraude met de uitwonendenbeurs en over de invoering van het sociaal leenstelsel in de masterfase.

Nu al laat hij de Tweede Kamer weten dat het leeuwendeel van de studenten weet wat de langstudeermaatregel inhoudt. Dat blijkt uit een enquête die in november is gehouden en waarin de bekendheid van andere studiemaatregelen werd gepeild. Het definitieve rapport komt in januari beschikbaar.

The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad (19 January 2011) writes that the centuries-old tradition of professors donating their portraits had come to a sudden end in the revolutionary 1970s when equality became the new paradigm and portraits were regarded as elitist. Forty years later Professor Geert Boering tested the waters by donating his portrait to Groningen University. His example was swiftly followed by five colleagues.

“I have always admired the portraits at Leiden University in the halls and corridors where PhD conferral ceremonies and meetings are held, and visitors – as well as those who work in these buildings – also have the opportunity to appreciate the continuity and respect that are essential for the academic world,” says Emeritus Professor Ted Young (Applied Sciences). He missed such a professorial portrait gallery in Delft. “Perhaps such things only occur at universities like Leiden and Harvard and not at technical universities,” he muses. “Nevertheless, it’s important that we honor the university as an institution, and it is the professors who are emblematic of the institution. An official gallery of portraits paid for by a retiring professor is a way to build a sense of history, a sense of continuity, and a sense of respect for our academic institution.”

“This is no university for historic Senate Rooms with club fauteuils and ashtrays for cigars,” says Professor Hans Beunderman, Vice Rector at TU Delft. Together with Marga Schrijvershof-Vink, he set up a gallery in the Aula of 20 black and white photographs featuring all the university’s Rectors since 1945. Beunderman stresses that he does like paintings and art, and moreover that painted portraits don’t match well with a forward-orientated university like TU Delft. Besides, Beunderman prefers the university to have a say in who is remembered: “We honor people with merit. That is different from professors offering their own commemorates, which, after all, you cannot decline.”

Professor Miro Zeman (Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer
Sciences) already has his own portrait: a photograph of him wearing his professorial gown that is printed on canvas and framed. It was a gift from colleagues at the occasion of his professorship. Prof. Zeman regrets the lack of historic awareness at the university: “I’ve been working here for twenty years, but to have an idea of who my predecessors were or what they did you’d have to go to the library and make a deep search.” Prof. Zeman, who is also the founder of Slovakia’s first private art gallery, ‘Galeria Nova’, would like to have a series of portraits displayed in the department’s immensely long corridor. Each he portrait would include a short description of the accomplishments of the person portrayed. This would serve as a straightforward way to learn about one’s predecessors. But mind you, it needn’t be painted portraits: a more modern portraying technique involving lasers and 3D would perhaps be more appropriate for TU Delft.

Prof. Zeman argues that portraits do in fact complement a forward-looking university: “You cannot orientate towards the future if you have no knowledge of your past. If we expect students to be proud of the TU, it’s not because of the buildings or the Mekelpark, it’s because of the people.”

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