Opportunities for higher education
The penetration of IT into society is going faster and deeper. The possibilities that IT offers are growing at an unprecedented rate. This has major consequences for how people live, work and learn. Nobody can predict how digitisation will have changed higher education in ten years, but we know for sure that digitisation will have a major impact.
We have every reason to invest heavily in the use of technology in order to accelerate educational innovation in higher education in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a compact, highly developed and well-organised country with excellent physical and digital infrastructures. This special combination of characteristics gives our country the unique opportunity to be an international front runner when it comes to educational innovation.
All educational institutions in the Netherlands will make (substantial) investments in digitisation and educational innovation in the coming years, and will encounter difficult issues in this. Higher education is faced with the challenge of taking advantage of the opportunities that digital technology offers:
- Technology can contribute to the realisation of more accessible and tailor-made education, and can therefore lead to fewer dropouts and better study results;
- Students ask for more flexibility in education, for an optimal combination of study, work and life;
- Students live digitally and also expect this in education;
- The content of professions changes at lightning speed. Existing professions disappear and new ones arise.
In addition, higher education must cope with the risks and threats posed by digitisation:
- Globally, technology in higher education is leading to major shifts. Private providers of online education and EdTech companies find their own place in the higher education market;
- The use of study data offers great opportunities for tailor-made study counseling, but also raises privacy and security issues;
- The large range of applications requires a management of choices and interoperability.
The Acceleration Plan recognises that digitisation offers great opportunities for higher education in the Netherlands and that it can contribute to the quality of education. The mission of the Acceleration Plan is to create space within the institutions and in collaboration with other universities and colleges to take substantial steps in the field of digitisation in higher education.
The Acceleration Plan marks the step that Dutch universities, colleges and SURF are taking together to join forces and realise ambitions at an accelerated pace. The four-year programme runs from 2019 to 2022 and is based on three ambitions:
- Improving the connection to the labour market;
- Stimulating the flexibility of education;
- Smarter and better learning with technology.
The Acceleration Plan also strengthens the position of Dutch higher education in an international context when it comes to educational innovation with technology. Especially the national cooperation that characterises the Acceleration Plan is unique in an international context.
With the three ambitions, the Acceleration Plan works on Dutch leadership in educational innovation and educational innovation with technology. In addition, the Acceleration Plan puts the Netherlands on the international map as a leader in educational innovation where unique national cooperation between higher education institutions has been achieved.