‘Teach PhDs to teach’

Universities should properly prepare PhD candidates for teaching, says minister Jet Bussemaker. ‘They owe it to their students’, she says.

This is Bussemaker’s response to a study by the Dutch PhD Candidate Network (PNN) and the Interurban Student Consultation (ISO), which showed that there is a lack of focus on training and support for PhD candidates’ educational tasks. Of the 257 people questioned, 35 percent began teaching without any training.

Nearly half (46 percent) said that the teaching training and support was insufficient, and 70 percent spent more time on education than the number of hours they are actually paid for.

‘That is a significant sign’, Bussemaker says. ‘The universities should take this very seriously. Every student has the right to a teacher who is properly prepared to teach.’


Proper support is essential, the minister says. It will help not only the students but also the development of the PhD candidates themselves, because many PhD candidates end up in a non-scientific career, according to Bussemaker. The minister wants to discuss the results of the study with the rectors of all the universities in order to set more specific standards.

‘This study is a sign that the universities can’t ignore. I can’t emphasise enough that education is a core issue for universities and that they owe their students a proper education’, she says. Bussemaker wants to inform the Lower House about any subsequent steps before the summer.


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