In 2015, the basic grant was abolished and the loan system introduced with the condition that the money released would benefit the quality of education. This process was laid down nationally in the Quality Agreements Plan in 2018. Each institution will draw up a plan for spending the money based on six agreed themes in cooperation with the employee participation body. The ISO monitors the realisation of a measurable and visible improvement in quality and the involvement of employee participation in the process of the quality agreements as the plans for each institution are implemented in the coming years. The ISO is part of the National Office for Quality Agreements, an office that was set up to support the representative body. For more information on the quality agreements, see the website.
In the coming phase, higher education institutions will try to realise their plans. The employee participation body plays an important role in monitoring progress. The starting point is to achieve visible improvement in the quality of education. In addition, the higher education institutions will be assessed at various points with regard to the quality agreements. As this review may affect the funding for the quality agreements, it is important that it is carefully prepared with the participation body.
The added value of the quality agreements is currently under pressure. The quality agreements threaten to become a palliative instead of a visible improvement due to the limited tight budgets of educational institutions. It is important that the quality agreements really provide an extra boost to education quality and do not fill the institutions’ shortfalls.
Viewpoint of the ISO
The ISO sees added value in the extra investments in higher education, which the representative body can actively influence. It is important that all students experience an improvement in the quality of education. However, the ISO does see that the temporal factor may limit the impact of the investments. The quality agreements have been agreed up to and including 2024 and it is still uncertain whether these resources will be available thereafter. For this reason, the ISO is actively pursuing investments that will have a long-term impact on the quality of education. In addition, the ISO is actively pushing for a structural increase in the education budget. Finally, the ISO considers it very important to facilitate employee participation in their tasks concerning the quality agreements. In cooperation with the National Office for Quality Agreements, the ISO therefore intends to maintain close contact with the representative councils in order to (1) assess needs and (2) develop knowledge and skills.