Shorter academic year for more rest and less stress

Minister Dijkgraaf wants to find out if this helps students and researchers
Een volle collegezaal
Alexander Santos Lima

Offering students, teachers and researchers more rest during the academic year. That is the aim of pilots around a 'smarter academic year'. Minister Dijkgraaf (OCW) invites universities in particular to participate in one of these pilots.

More time for students and teachers

The pilots involve smarter design of existing teaching activities and responsibly reducing the number of weeks with teaching and/or exams. This will give researchers and lecturers more time to conduct research and improve teaching. Students benefit from the extra time with, for example, more time for internships and more choices around the pace and timing of studying, theses and tests.

Pressure and work stress

"Students and lecturers have a huge need for more breathing space," the minister writes. "Researchers who do not get enough time to do research, students who sigh under a high study load, resulting in psychological pressure and work stress." According to him, they want a clearly defined programme that is less "messy".

Some colleges will also take part in the trial, which will last a few years. In total, Minister Dijkgraaf is providing 10 million euros for the pilots. The University of Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam will provide knowledge sharing, monitoring and accountability. Two years after implementation, the initial results of the pilots will be assessed and adjustments made.

More information

Read the press release from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Dutch).


The news report of the NOS (Dutch).

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