Bart Noordam (ASML): “An investment in technological education is definitely profitable”
It remains difficult to understand: while the call for technicians in the industry is only growing, Technical Universities are closing the gate for certain courses. A maximum number of inflows is determined using a “numerus fixus”. According to the universities – among them the Eindhoven University of Technology – this is a necessary measure to safeguard the quality of education, but for the industry this a precursor to disaster. The magazine Forum of VNO-NCW has asked a group of technology-hotshots for solutions to this dilemma. ASML’s Vice President Development & Engineering Bart Noordam also offers a few.
Noordam sees a solution in a better distribution of the TU courses. This requires cooperation between universities. “It may be surprising, but university students mainly study locally”, says Noordam, who was dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam before his appointment at ASML. “More and more young people are now living longer with their parents due to the disappearance of the study grant. In Noord-Brabant, with the TU in Eindhoven, around 20 percent of young people choose to study for technical studies. In Noord-Holland and Flevoland – without TU – 10% and 8% respectively. So why not offer education in technology in each region?”
Distance limits the flow of students, Noordam states in Forum. “A student who is enrolled in a higher professional education programme in Alkmaar will not be going to take a master’s degree at a university very quickly. An annex to the Eindhoven University of Technology in Amsterdam would solve this problem. Universities could thus also share courses, as is already the case for multidisciplinary studies. Leiden University, Erasmus University and Delft University of Technology, for example, together offer the Life Science & Technology programme. In this way, we will never again find ourselves in a situation where courses are full.”
According to Noordam, in the end, there is actually only one real solution to this problem: investing in education. “Economically speaking, this is very feasible”, he says. “Quite simply: there is a huge demand for technical people, who generate income and business and that is good for the economy. In my opinion, it is definitely a profitable investment.”
The TU/e has set up a numerus fixus for four courses: industrial design, biomedical technology, technical business administration and technical IT. In Wageningen and Twente, student stops have also been set for certain technical programmes.
Photo TU/e terrain: Your Captain Air photography