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What lessons can we learn from
the Netherlands and the United
Kingdom?
MichГЁle Belot
University of Essex (UK)
Outline
Overview of the Dutch and UK higher education system
– Admission procedures: From secondary school into higher
education
– Public intervention in higher education
– Performance in higher education
• Success rates in first year
– Student enrolments, according to economic background
Public subsidies and access to higher education
– The Netherlands: Effects of a reduction in public subsidies to
higher education in 1996 on access and performance in higher
education
– The UK: Overall increase in tuition fees in 2007
Conclusions and lessons for Belgium
Admission procedures - Netherlands
University
Education
University
Preparatory
Education (VWO)
21%
Higher
Professional
Education
1 year
Senior General
Secondary
Education
(HAVO)
20%
Primary education
Senior
Secondary
Vocational
Education (MBO)
56%
Admission procedures - UK
• Pupils apply to universities in the last year
of secondary school
• Universities make offers conditional on Alevel exam results
Costs and student support
• Tuition fees
NL: +/- 1500 euro
UK: ВЈ1175 (2005-2006)
• Student support
NL: Support for costs of living (Student Support Act
1992)
– Decreased over time
– Widening of lending possibilities
UK: Means-tested tuition fees, loans
Fees and student support in NL
• Netherlands
•Annual fee + costs of living
Grants / loans and performance in
NL
• Grant conditional on performance (students
must pass at least 50% of the total number
of credits)
Student performance in NL
Success rates
Higher professional education
numbers
Cohort 1995
7 490
Cohort 1996
7 540
Cohort 1997
7 270
Cohort 1998
8 100
Cohort 1999
9 380
Cohort 2000
10 310
Cohort 2001
12 150
Cohort 2002
11 630
Cohort 2003
12 020
University
numbers
Cohort 1995
4 180
Cohort 1996
4 310
Cohort 1997
4 690
Cohort 1998
5 220
Cohort 1999
5 210
Cohort 2000
5 180
Cohort 2001
6 130
Cohort 2002
6 360
Cohort 2003
6 060
Source: CBS Netherlands
3y
19
21
19
21
24
23
24
24
4y
42
42
40
42
45
43
43
5y
53
52
51
51
54
52
6y
57
57
56
55
57
7y
59
59
58
58
8y 9y
61 62
61 61
60
3y
17
19
21
22
23
21
25
33
4y
23
25
27
29
30
30
37
5y
36
39
41
42
44
46
6y
47
49
53
54
56
7y
54
57
61
61
8y 9y
58 60
62 65
65
Student enrolments
• Overall: Participation rates in tertiary education
(type A) – OECD Education at a Glance (2001)
– NL: 32%
– UK: 33.7%
– Belgium: 46.3%
Participation and socio-economic
background
• Correlation between enrolments and socio-economic
background.
Netherlands:
University education:
50% of students have a father with a higher education diploma
30% of students have a mother with a higher education diploma
Higher vocational education:
30% of students with father with a higher education diploma
15-20% with mother with university diploma
Overall: 25% of the population has a higher education diploma
• However:
– No link between parental background and participation once we
control for ability (grade at secondary final exam) and type of
secondary education
Student enrolments and socioeconomic background - UK
Public subsidies and access to
higher education
• Experience from the Netherlands
• Experience from the UK
Public subsidies and performance
in higher education
• Lessons from the Netherlands
• In 1996, reduction of the amount of student
support from 5 years to 4 years (i.e. nominal
duration of studies)
• Comparing a sample of students before and after
the reform, we find:
– No effect on total student enrolments
– Students reallocated from university to higher
professional education
– Performance increased: Lower drop-outs, larger number
of units completed per year
The effects of the reform
• Mainly affected relatively good students
• No stronger effects according to educational
background
Reform and choice
Reform and student performance
Lessons for Belgium
• Over-representation of students from good
socio-economic backgrounds
– Democratization of higher education should
take place earlier (primary and secondary
school)
• Selection at entry / student support
– Does not constitute a barrier for low-income
families
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