Twente University goes for ‘controlled growth’

After that TU/e and TU Delft made their growth ambitions public during the last weeks Vinod Subramaniam, the Executive Board President of Twente University, made clear last Friday how his institution wants to handle growth. Over time it could lead to an amount of 20.000 students. At this moment 12.500 students are present at the Twente University.

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On the site of U-Today, the news medium of Twente University, Subramaniam made the following statement: “It's about wanting to grow in a controlled way. Even back then, so not much has changed. However, this year has made it even clearer what major transitions society is facing. Right now, we lack the technical talent to meet these challenges. From the labour market, there is a huge need for technically skilled personnel from mbo, hbo and universities. The UT is responding to this need and taking its responsibility."


Subramaniam was also asked to give a reaction on the plans of Eindhoven and Delft. Both universities say that they want to comply with the demands coming from industry and the society. “The context is very local," according to Subramaniam. "There is no ASML in Twente with seven thousand vacancies, like in Eindhoven. Within our context, we also educate students for companies like ASML, but in the region we also have responsibility for companies around us, mainly SMEs. The situation with Delft is also difficult to compare. There, space for expansion is limited. That is why they are making plans to open campuses elsewhere, for example in Rotterdam or The Hague. In Twente, space is not an issue. If there is one campus in the Netherlands where building is possible, it is in Twente. Although that doesn't mean we can nor want to overbuild the campus.’”

It is also hard to predict with how many students his university will grow in the coming years, says Subramaniam. “It is very difficult to give exact figures. Twente University has a qualitative objective: to meet the needs of society while keeping growth manageable. That growth could perhaps lead to 20.000 students, or even more. But we can fulfill our ambitions in various ways. Think about lifelong learners. This group does come to study at UT, but is a completely different type of student. They don't come to live here, for example. Ten thousand new students, does not mean twenty thousand extra feet on campus. The cooperation with the VU is another example. At our university, the Mechanical Engineering program is already at its limits, but by cooperating with Amsterdam we continue to grow and even reach the hinterland of North-Holland."

Asked if his university wants to attract more Dutch students or will be going for more internationals growth, he says: “First, we should look at how we want to grow content-wise. Where are additional workers required and how can we contribute to the supply for that demand? Focusing more on Dutch or foreign students is secondary to that."

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