The proposed education secretary is pro-humanities

Ebo Bruins (1969) will be outgoing Minister Robert Dijkgraaf (D66) tracking. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has another minister, Mariel Bull of the VVD. It is not yet known whether she will remain in her position.

Wallet allocation is unknown. Dijkgraaf is responsible for MBO, HBO and scientific education. He liked to emphasize the equality of these types of education and received appreciation for it. It is clear that the next minister will also bring together these education sectors.

Primary and secondary education would then be in the hands of the other Minister (or Secretary of State). It remains to be seen who will get the culture and the media.

Fewer students

As a member of the House of Representatives, Bruins said in an online debate in 2020 that perhaps too many young people are entering higher education. “As a country, we depend on the choices of 17-year-olds, while we face major problems in maintaining our ability to earn in the future,” he said. And also: “Are enough people still attending secondary vocational education to learn bricklaying and carpentry?”

In the same conversation, Bruins said that more money should go to science, because it is important for the economy, or for solving social problems such as extremism and terrorism. The main agreement of the new coalition parties includes major cuts to higher education and research.

Bruins, who studied physics himself, regularly defended other disciplines in the House of Representatives, especially when the Cabinet allocated €100 million for science and technology. “We especially want to protect the status of the humanities,” he said. “They are vulnerable, but at a high level and valuable to our country.”

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Recognition and appreciation

He currently serves as Chairman of the Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Board. This Council has written favorably about, among other things, “recognition and appreciation”: the attempt by university administrators to pay less attention to rankings and publications in top journals. Employees are also allowed to excel in other areas, such as teaching, assessment, or management.

He also advised the Council to be less “naive” in the area of ​​cognitive security. “Until recently, you could raise tons of research money if you wanted to cooperate with China, and there were almost no strings attached to that,” Ebo Bruins, head of the AWTI, said on the current affairs program Nieuwsuur at the end of November.


Another theme is innovation. Bruins and his council members championed the social sciences and humanities. The message was that disciplines such as psychology, law, sociology and cultural sciences were crucial to innovation.

Two years ago, the Council called for interdisciplinary research. The government thought it could stimulate this research in two ways. In an interview with HOP, Bruins said: “You should encourage free research that comes from the intrinsic curiosity of researchers, for example through the NWO’s free competition. You can remove some of the annoying rules, so that collaboration with artists or experts through expertise, for example Example, easier.

“You can too top down He explained the other aspect of the policy: “Encouraging research into certain complex topics, which are by nature interdisciplinary.” “You should not confuse these two things.”

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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