Performance Agreement School

The aim is not only to enhance performance, but also to encourage educators to position themselves strategically, given their particular mission and strengths. performance agreements were introduced in 2012. The agreements were signed between the Ministry of Education and each university and formulated in the form of quantitative indicators and qualitative ambitions, the ambitions set by the institutions themselves. In 2009, a committee of independent experts (the Committee for the Future Sustainability of the Higher Education System, also known as the Veerman Committee) was appointed by the Minister of Education to discuss the performance and diversity of systems in Dutch higher education. The Veerman Commission concluded that the overall quality of the training provided was correct and that the binary structure had to be preserved. At the same time, she saw many risks for the future. He called for a triple differentiation in higher education (Veerman et al. 2010): despite comments from university associations and students, there is political support for linking budgets to quality agreements. It is very likely that there will be some form of reward (but no punishment) from HeBen if they themselves meet declared ambitions in terms of quality and differentiation. The fact that these ambitions must be agreed in a close dialogue with relevant (local) stakeholders of public authorities means that the agreements will lose more of their new public management character and will move further towards a governance instrument corresponding to the paradigms of network governance and public value management (Stoker 2006; Vossensteyn and Westerheijden 2016). Whether performance agreements have really made a difference is very complex.

Before trying to answer them for Dutch performance agreements, we look briefly at some of the results and experiences found in other countries. It is difficult to determine precisely the share of recurrent government subsidies (see Table 1), as both the funding agreement and the formula often mix input and output elements. In the Netherlands, for example, performance agreements represent on average 7% of a university`s scholarship, while 20% of the (separate) allocation of formula-based teaching is based on diplomas and 40% of the (separate) award of research is based on diplomas. Thus, on average, one quarter (for universities) and one third (for Fachhochschulen) are based on performance criteria. In this chapter, we will analyze performance contracts to combine institutional autonomy with new forms of governance and accountability. Performance contracts and the associated performance-based financing concept involve a new approach to governance, a contractual model replacing government oversight.

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