- What are the Quality Agreements?
The Dutch Institutions of Higher Education, the national student unions (ISO and LSVb), and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) agreed that each University and University of Applied Sciences would make agreements on the quality of education. The Quality Agreement Plan explains how quality of education will be improved by means of the extra income of the Student Loan System. The Quality Agreements are effective from 2019 until 2024.
The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) will assess the plan on Quality Agreements, the progress of the Quality Agreements halfway the period, and the results of the Quality Agreements after 2024. The NVAO developed an open framework for the assessment of the Quality Agreements
- How does the termination of the basic grant for higher education (in Dutch: basisbeurs) relate to the Quality Agreements?
In 2015 the Dutch Government introduced a Student Loan System, thereby replacing the system in which students would receive a basic grant for higher education. The Ministry of OCW announced in its Strategic Agenda on Higher Education and Research 2015-2025 that financial recourses, which become gradually available because of the introduction of the Student Loans System, would flow back to education in order to enhance its quality. These financial resources are called in Dutch studievoorschotmiddelen, or WSV-budget.
The Coalition Agreement 2017 of the Dutch Government stated that agreements will be made with Institutions of Higher Education about how they will use these funds to improve education. These were called Quality Agreements.
Thereafter relevant stakeholders, namely the Universities, the Universities of Applied Sciences, the national Student Unions, and the Ministry of OCW, discussed how these Quality agreements should be implemented. This is explained in the Sector Agreement Investing in Quality of Education (April 2018).
- How long do the Quality Agreements apply? And is there a possibility to adjust the Quality Agreements?
The Quality Agreements will be effective for a period of six years, from 2019 until 2024. In 2018, the UT developed a Quality Agreement Plan, consisting of five programmes, that describes the aspired and required development of education to which the WSV-budget will contribute. Each programme has a long-term ambition in order to consolidate and focus the efforts that the UT will take by means of the WSV-budget. Based on new insights the course of a programme will be further defined in the coming years. The annual improvement cycle of education, with ‘check’ and ‘plan’ moments, will be used to structure the process of further specifying the Quality Agreements.
- To whom can I go to propose ideas for improving education? Who can help me with questions concerning the Quality Agreements?
The needs and ambitions of Degree Programmes are taken into account when a Faculty annually specifies how the WSV-budget will be invested in the coming year. Because Programme Committees represent staff and students at Degree Programme level, students and staff should share their ideas about how to improve education with the Programme Committee.
Faculty Councils should be aware that the perspectives of Degree Programmes are taken into account, when the course of the Quality Agreements is annually specified. A Faculty Council has the right to approve the allocation of the WSV-budget for the coming calendar year.
The Vice-Deans of Education (in Dutch: portefeuillehouders onderwijs) are responsible to monitor the Quality Agreements and to annually specify how the WSV-budget will be invested in the coming calendar year. The Vice-Deans of Education can explain what the focus of their Faculty is regarding the Quality Agreement.
- How did the UT develop its Quality Agreement plan?
The UT applied a bottom-up approach for the development of the Quality Agreement Plan. To structure the development process of the Quality Agreements, the UT made two leading principles explicit right from the start:
- Quality of education is assured by means of the plan-do-check-act cycles that operate on Course level, Programme level, Faculty level, and University level. These layered PDCA-cycles were utilized to develop the Quality Agreements.
- Students are partners in achieving high-quality education. Students were enabled and stimulated to contribute to formulating the Quality Agreements.
Faculties developed Faculty-specific plans, so they would be able to set their own priorities and define their ambitions, based on the needs and demands of their students and staff. Faculties involved Degree Programmes by asking to develop a long-term quality agenda. These plans of Degree Programmes were input for the Faculties to define their Faculty-specific plan. Each Faculty Plan needed approval from the Faculty Council.
Draft versions of the Faculty Plan were provided to the Executive Board halfway 2018. Based on this preliminary input, five University-wide programmes were defined by representatives of the Faculty Boards and the Executive Board. These programmes, as listed above, encompass the ideas and suggestions from students and staff to improve quality of education. The Faculties structured their plans according to the five Quality Agreement programmes.
The University-wide Quality Agreements are a sum of the Faculty-specific Quality Agreements. Next to this, also elements are added that concern University-wide support or which are valuable for the University as a whole. The Vice-Deans of Education advised on the University-wide Quality Agreements. The UT plan for Quality Agreements was approved by the University Council and the Supervisory Board.
- How does the UT assure that the Quality Agreements are realised?
Each Faculty and the UT in general annually explain how the WSV-funds will be used in the upcoming calendar year. After the end of a calendar year, each Faculty explains in the Management Report of December what has been realiszed by means of the WSV-funds. Subsequently, the UT in general reports on the progress of the Quality Agreements via the Annual Report, which includes the separate reports of the Faculties. Faculty Councils will be informed about how the WSV-funds are used in the Faculties. The University Council will be informed about the progress of the Quality Agreements via the Annual Report.
Based on the Annual Report of 2021 and a reflection of the participatory bodies, the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) will assess whether the UT realised sufficient progress and whether relevant stakeholders are sufficiently involved. The final assessment of the Quality Agreements will be organised parallel to the next Institutional Audit, approximately in 2025.
- How much money does the UT receive to realise the Quality Agreements?
The Ministry of OCW provides the income of the student loan system (in Dutch studievoorschotmiddelen) to enable the realisation of the Quality Agreements. For the UT, this involves the sum of € 2.6 million in 2019 that is expected to reach a total of € 6.5 million by 2022. The size of UT’s WSV-budget correlates to the total budget that the UT receives for Education from the Ministry of OCW. Therefore, factors that determine the size of the WSV-budget are 1) the number of students that are funded by the Minister of OCW, and 2) the market share of the UT in relation to other universities.
The UT allocates the WSV-budget to the Faculties by means of student based funding. This means that every Faculty receives a budget for those students that are funded by the Minister of OCW. The Faculties invests these WSV-budgets for the realisation of the Quality Agreements. Twenty percent of the WSV-budget is allocated to the UT’s central budget in order to cover the costs of initiatives or services that benefit the University as a whole. The UT estimated the size of the WSV-budget that the University will receive for the upcoming four years. This is presented in the figure below. To place these numbers in perspective: the WSV-budget is approximately 2.2 percent of the total budget that the UT spends on education in 2019, increasing to 4.8 percent in 2022.
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Estimation of the WSV-budget the UT will receive coming years (amounts in k€)