The principled vs the practical

Mini-column ‘Alison in Wonderland’, published in the Observant, Maastricht

I’m not in love with the langstudeerdersregeling. Imposing it on students who incurred a study delay before it was implemented is wrong. But I am irritated by the bad arguments made against it. ‘It puts too much pressure on students.’ No. With a few exceptions, if a student honestly can’t finish a bachelor’s degree in four years, she has bigger problems than a fine. ‘It makes studying too expensive and leaves students with bigger debt.’ Be realistic. Compared to other countries, you’re still paying peanuts. But some people take an admirably principled – if politically impractical – stand: ‘We recognise that spending forever at university is uneconomical for the state, but as a society we believe in the value of open-ended education at all costs.’ I have to applaud the sentiment. It’s just too bad the government doesn’t.

Mini-column ‘Alison in Wonderland’, published in the Observant, Maastricht

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