Council: selection in psychology and international business programmes leads to inequality

The university council has expressed its doubts about the plans of the psychology and international business programmes to maintain selection procedures. Other programmes with a numerus clausus are shifting to an unweighted lottery system to promote equal opportunities.

Neither programme provided a justification for their choice to maintain selection, despite being required to do so by the board of directors.

The international business programme’s decision to continue selecting students on the basis of an essay was particularly criticised in the committee meeting preceding the university council. But the Faculty of Economics and Business fears that the programme will lose its competitive edge to other programmes in the country if they switch to an unweighted lottery. ‘The lottery procedure isn’t very well known abroad and is seen as a sign of lower educational quality’, the faculty wrote.


The faculty settled on the essay requirement because it works better than a generic letter. Moreover, the programme argues that current students are very satisfied with it because it gives them agency.

‘If you don’t choose equal opportunities because you fear losing competition, nothing will ever change’, said Ale ten Cate of Lijst Calimero.

The choice for the essay also faced criticism, as students from less-educated backgrounds don’t get as much help from their environment. The council said the programme’s insistence on the essay because current students are satisfied with it showed their bias. ‘These arguments you’ve presented show you are not aware of the problem’, warned Dinie Bouman with the personnel faction.

International diplomas

The psychology department wants to stick to a selection procedure because they lack sufficient insight into the quality of international diplomas. In the past – before the numerus clausus – it was mainly international students who struggled with the programme, something the faculty wants to avoid. However, the law does not allow different selection methods for the English and Dutch tracks.

The council understood this but also had its concerns. ‘Other English-taught programmes have the same problem, but they managed to figure something out’, said Ten Cate. ‘Selection procedures simply aren’t what we want.’

The university council will advise on the matter next Thursday.



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