A Comparative Analysis
Chapter 7: The Netherlands: A Difficult Marketization
Loris Perotti 7.1 THE DUTCH HE SYSTEM AND ITS CHANGES The Dutch HE system has undergone numerous changes in the last 20 years. Since the second half of the 1980s, it has seen change in ministerial policies (from centralism to autonomy with assessment), in funding mechanisms (from formula funding to the allocation of resources on competitive bases), in the governance model of universities (from participativeconsensual to managerial) and in the organization of study programmes (following introduction of the Bologna Process). This change, as we shall see, has in its turn altered the propensity of Dutch universities and Hogescholen (HBO) to address social demand and the ways in which this has come about. In this regard, some commentators have spoken of a ‘marketization’ of the Dutch HE system (Neave 1998; Jongbloed 2003), which, they claim, has led to imitation of the American model. It is not possible here to analyse the empirical evidence for this claim, although it would seem useful to distinguish between areas in which the reforms have led to incisive changes (in university governance, for example) and others in which path-dependence mechanisms have kept the institutional framework more stable (in the planning of courses, for instance). A further matter for investigation is not so much what has happened within university education strictly speaking as the change that has occurred in relationships between the latter and the vocational branch of HE. That of the Netherlands, in fact, can be defined as a two-track system divided between an academic branch...
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