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Dutch Education Council: Two cycle academic structure has adverse effects on international mobility

The bachelor-master structure is having an adverse effect on international mobility. This is the conclusion of the Dutch Education Council in its Internationalization Agenda for Education 2006-2011. The introduction of the two-cycle structure was intended to lead to greater uniformity in the structure of study programmes in different countries, and thus to facilitate mobility. Yet the report concludes that mobility has actually decreased since the introduction of the new structure. The Dutch Education Council concludes that there are several reasons for this apparent fall in mobility:

  • Timetables often do not match and students are often confronted with strict enrolment criteria and transitional programmes when they want to study at another university.
  • The difference in the duration of master’s programmes. The one year Dutch master’s degrees are not always recognised in countries with two-year master’s programmes.
  • There is little understanding in other countries of the difference between professional and academic bachelor’s programmes in the Netherlands.
  • The rigidity of the two cycle structure often means there is limited space to study optional subjects. Many Dutch students who are interested in studying abroad find it difficult to find the time in their study programme.