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Bachelor/Master's

Dutch higher education is about to undergo a major change. Theproposed new degree system will involve the introduction of abachelor's and master's degree. But the prediction is that theintroduction of the new system will not take place without a gooddeal of resistance of one kind or another. The differences inopinion between the Minister of education, Loek Hermans, anduniversity administrators are simply too great for that (not tomention the differences between the administrators themselves).This became clear after various addresses last Monday incelebration of the beginning of the new academic year. With a modelas proposed, the Netherlands would follow a trend which has becomeincreasingly clear in other countries. Everybody thinks theBritish/American model should be adopted, including the universityadministrators. But the question is: how? The debate appears to befocused on two matters in particular. The first is money. Whoshould pay for the new system, the tax payer or the institutionsthemselves? The second question is how strict the selectioncriteria for Master's programs should be. The minister seems tohave a ready answer to that too. Universities should always be ableto offer their own students the chance to take a Master's degree.With no more than a bachelor's degree a graduate would be a"half-baked" academic. By contrast, the chairman of UtrechtUniversity's Board of Regents, Jan Veldhuis, among others thinksthe universities should always have the right to bar unsuitablecandidates from Master's programs.

Most cited

Nearly four hundred citations in ten years. Perhaps no more thanchickenfeed to researchers in the bio-medical field, but for theUtrecht mathematician Professor Henk van der Vorst the number wassufficient to be declared the world's most frequently citedmathematician. Last week the faculty received a message to thiseffect from ESI, an organization which researches scienceindicators. Van der Vorst's article appeared in 1992 under thetitle "BI-CGSTAB: a fast and smoothly converging variant of BI-CGfor the solution of nonsymmetric linear-systems", and was cited 379times during the final decade of the last century. In academiccircles the number of citations is one of the main yardsticks bywhich to measure the importance of a publication.