Foto: Adrian van den Eerenbeemt, Univers

Opening Academic Year successful

4 September 2018 -With a dubious face, an employee of Tilburg University reads the contents of the temporary contract that is pushed into his hands during the opening Academic Year campaign. "We offer a high workload, free extra overtime and annual increase of students and administration. We expect you to arrange your own research funding, that you do your research in your own time, work during holidays...". He does not read the contract any further, but looks at the activist incomprehensibly. "I already have such a contract!

This reaction was given regularly during the action of VAWO and the Dutch PhD-Network (PNN). People involuntarily laughed when they were to turn around immediately after entering. Firmly but kindly they were pointed to the door. The successful campaign may seem funny, unfortunately this is our reality, says Marijtje Jongsma of VAWO. "Often people are allowed to stay one or at most a few years and then have to find a new employer. Of course universities are responsible for their own personnel policies, but apart from that there is structural underfunding in academia and we want to address the Minister about this.

And then Minister Ingrid Van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science walks towards the main entrance. Anne de Vries, chairman of PNN, hands her a doormat with the text 'Don´t close the door for talent, but offer prospect!´ The minister receives it with a smile, but does not make any promises or helpful statements. She does indicate that she will soon come up with a plan to tackle the problems in academia.

"I'm curious what the minister will come up with," Jongsma says as the Minister walks away. "I just hope that she will make an effort to keep academic education in the Netherlands of a high standard, because in if she doesn´t it will surely affect the quality.”

Together with PNN, Jongsma is satisfied about the campaing. "It's not fast, but we must continue to draw attention to these important themes. That is why the VAWO also supports the WOinActie. "Of course we do," says Jongsma. "It shows how serious our problems are and only by acting together we can make this call stronger.