Dutch universities get tougher on master's degree students

Private landlords have more expensive social housing

An increasing number of Dutch universities are rejecting prospective master’s degree students who don’t average scores of at least seven in their bachelor’s degree subjects, the Volkskrant says on Wednesdy. Rotterdam School of Management, for example, has introduced a minimum bachelor pass rate for all subjects, the paper says. Students who wish to study politics at a higher level need an average score of seven in their bachelor degree papers, to write a motivational letter and to pass a test in English to win a place. The same applies to politics in Leiden and is being introduced for archaeology master's degrees. [banner] The universities are able to introduce tougher entrance requirements because they no longer have to automatically admit students for master’s degrees at the same faculty where they studied for their bachelor's. Education minister Jet Bussemaker hopes this will lead to the ‘right student being at the right place’ and reduce the drop-out rate. Standards ‘We attract good students from all over the world,’ a spokesman for Erasmus University told the paper. ‘They [foreign students] need to have an average grade of seven or pass the entrance test,' the spokesman said. 'We are now applying this to our own students. We are hoping to improve the quality of education further.’ ‘Some of our bachelor's students are not good enough for our master's,' he told the paper. 'The bachelor-master system does not mean that everyone will meet the standards to take a master’s degree. We have to get used to that here in the Netherlands and it is completely normal abroad.’  More >

Former health minister stabbed 41 times

Private landlords have more expensive social housing Former health minister Els Borst, who was murdered at her home last year, was stabbed 41 times, Dutch media reported on Tuesday evening. The information came from suspect Bart van U’s lawyer Noëlle Pieterse who told reporters more details about the charges facing her client ahead of the trial, which starts next week. Most of the 41 cuts were to her face and hands. Yet it took police several days to announce that the former doctor was the victim of a crime. [banner] Bart van U was arrested in January on the suspicion of murdering his sister. DNA tests led to Borst’s murder being added to the charge sheet. Failures According to media reports, there was a succession of police failures during the investigation. Bart van U should have been in jail earlier because he was supposed to be serving three years for possessing illegal weapons. But he had managed to avoid this because of police failings. He is said to have stabbed his sister multiple times after she returned from shopping. He claimed earlier they had a poor relationship and that he acted out of self-defence. Borst, who served as health minister from 1994 to 2002, was murdered after returning home from a D66 conference in Amsterdam and was found dead in her garage in February 2014. DNA checks led the police to Van U in January this year.  More >

Healthcare claims average €2,150 a year

Private landlords have more expensive social housing The Dutch claim an average of €2,153 a year from their health insurance companies, just over half of which is due to specialist medical care, website Nu.nl said on Wednesday. Medicine accounts for a further €260 a year, Nu.nl said. The bill for the over-65s is more than three times as high as that for youngsters and local council areas with a low average income have higher than average healthcare bills, the survey found. Last week it emerged that the government expects healthcare insurance premiums to rise by around €7 a month next year. [banner]  More >

PVV on rise in new poll of polls

Private landlords have more expensive social housing The first poll of polls of the new political year shows a rise in support for the anti-immigration PVV and a slight drop for the ruling Liberal VVD, broadcaster Nos said on Wednesday. The poll, based on an amalgam of four different polls, puts support for the VVD at between 23 and 27 seats in the 150 seat parliament, while the PVV range is 22 to 26. The Socialists and Liberal democratic D66 are both at 19 to 23 seats and the Christian Democrats on 17 to 21. [banner] Poll maker Tom Louwerse says there is a clear link between the decision to give a third package of financial support to Greece and the changing political fortunes of the VVD and PVV. Prime minister Mark Rutte was forced to admit last month that he had been unable to keep an election promise to ensure no more money went to Greece. The PVV wants the Netherlands to pull out of the EU altogether. The current refugee crisis is unlikely to have had a significant impact on the polls because it is a long-running story, Louwerse said. 'The question is currently very urgent but that will only strengthen people's opinions rather than change their point of view,' he said.  More >

Private landlords are more expensive

Private landlords have more expensive social housing Private landlords who rent out rent-controlled housing offer more expensive properties than housing corporations, tenants' lobby group Woonbond said on Wednesday. On average, privately-owned social housing costs €54 a month more than housing corporation properties and the quality is also worse, Woonbond says. 'The long waiting lists for social housing means low income tenants are more often being forced into this more expensive sector,' the lobby group said. 'One in four social housing tenants has no choice than to rent from a private landlord.' [banner] All properties with rents under €710 a month fall into the social housing sector in the Netherlands. The government wants to allow private landlords to increase rents by 2.5% plus inflation from this year, while housing corporations will be restricted to a 1% plus inflation increase. The housing group says low income tenants with a private landlord will be unfairly affected by this. 'They are already paying more money for a property which is worth less,' the organisation said.  More >