Opinion: The University’s pending promise

POSTED: 10/28/15 5:59 PM

The university has pushed the government with its nose in the facts: two promises, one held, and one pending. The promise the government kept is to recognize the university – whatever value such a statement may have.

The second promise is much more interesting for the USM: the promise of more subsidies. Right now the university receives 850,000 guilders per year, less than 1 percent of the education budget.

Over the years, the university has been struggling financially – a situation that has been solved by the former President, Annelies van den Assem, who last year was sidelined without any explanation to the public.

The challenge the USM will always be facing is this one: offering quality education while the number of students will always remain limited, given the size of our population.

This means one of two things: or courses will become prohibitively expensive or there will be no courses at all. In the end, the USM has to bring up the money for its accreditation, it has to pay its faculty and it has of course all the normal business expenses that come with its building on Pond Island.

It is easy for the government to say how important the university is, but it is apparently much more difficult for politicians to put their foot where their mouth is when it comes to backing up their statements with hard cash.

The prospects with the 2016 budget are bleak, to put it mildly, but who knows how much creativity the interim-cabinet will bring to the table.

For now the university has to wait and see, but we think it’s a good thing that the board has reminded the government of its promise.

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