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Franses ‘defends’ termination Economics & ICT

Dean Franses (ESE) has sent out a letter today in which he defends the termination of the master program Economics & ICT. The letter doesn’t use any new arguments, instead still claims it is impossible to find new teachers and that ICT does not belong to the core-business of the ESE. Franses already cut the tree and now has the courage to ask the Council whether or not he is allowed to cut the tree.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

(Rotterdam) – In his letter, Franses first explains there is a problem in staffing and that therefore external teachers have to be hired to teach. It is stated that other universities in the country encounter the same problems in this domain. This is weird, as The ANDY Standard has sent out inquiries to other universities and they all dismiss that allegation.

Hiring external teachers, that don’t perform research, is confirmed by Franses to be a short-term solution, not a long-term one. Previous council meeting, senators have noted that this problem also exists with Fiscal Economics and Auditing, Accounting & Controlling (AAC): they have plenty external teachers don’t perform research. Franses warns us that if the quality deteriorates at Fiscale Economie, they will face the same scenario as Economics & ICT does now. As for AAC, that is considered to belong to the core-business of the ESE and is therefore a “must have” in a strategic sense.

Future of ICT

Franses then discusses his vision on ICT-education for economics students, but remains vague on the future strategy on this issue. A new ICT-course has been introduced (2009/2010) to Bachelor-1 students which should provide students with a significant amount of ICT-skills – this I have to contradict as the course only teaches simple Excel-skills and has no relation to the rest of the curriculum ( was a Teacher’s Assistant in 2010/2011).

A minor Computer Science exists for Bachelor-3 students that wish to expand their ICT knowledge and skills. Contrary to the B1-course, the minor is said to rely on having enough teachers and interested students. This would realistically mean the minor will ultimately also disappear if teachers continue to leave – and this is very likely with Economics & ICT gone.

The existing major Business & ICT (in the letter wrongly mentioned as Economics & ICT), prepares current Bachelor E&I-students for the master program Economics & ICT and is therefore also threatened by termination. AAC though, has stated that the courses Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) and Security & ICT Audit, both Economics & ICT courses, should continue to exist in order to properly educate AAC-students. Furthermore, ICT-education for bachelor students Econometrics has been adjusted (see the letter for the changes).

Nothing changed after 2 years

As for the master program Computational Economics, yet again Franses shoves responsibility to a “professor involved with that program to develop a suitable proposition” in order to position Computational Economics with the master Econometrics. The same statement can be found in discussions and letters from two years ago, making it safe to say nothing has changed since then, at all.

Additionally, Franses mentions it would be practically impossible to hire new teachers by writing that “the ESE-board considers the success of future attempts to hire new people for Economics & ICT to be unrealistic”. Having said that, no evidence exists the ESE really did its best to find new teachers. Nevertheless, Franses is convinced that the best next step is to terminate the master program, only to propose a suitable plan on how to end the program and let current students graduate. The academic calendar 2012-2013 would be the final year that new students would be able to enroll in the master program.


As for the current HBO-students the ESE, 2012-2013 will also be the last opportunity to enroll, but that would mean that as from next year no new HBO-students will be allowed. Franses: “we should inform any interested students about the current discussions on terminating the program. We then expect that the usually already small group, would even get smaller.” This can be considered as an anti-campaign in which Franses tries to scare people away in order to use that small group as a new argument.

Franses also sums up 4 MSc programs to which current MSc E&I-students qualify to enroll with at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Leiden and in Tilburg (check the letter for more info). E&I-students would supposedly qualify with only a BSc-degree without other enrollment-requirements.

Discrimination by Franses

Franses concludes his letter by emphasizing, yet again, that Economics & ICT does not belong to the core-business by stating “the ESE is mono-disciplinary of nature”. This is rather awkward due to several reasons: AAC supposedly does belong to the core-business and there the ESE also fails to find proper teachers(1), Econometrics and Fiscal Economics cannot be placed in that mono-discipline of ‘economics’ either (2) and what would this mean for the program Computational Economics (3) ?

It is therefore clear some form of discrimination exists, especially because statistics show several seminars with Economics are also instructed by external teachers. Following Franses’ reasoning, this would mean those seminars also lack quality. Why are these practices tolerated for the economics-seminars and not for Economics & ICT? Is this evidence of discrimination? Is Franses’ reasoning flaw? And what is the real reason behind this strong will to terminate Economics & ICT?

Download the full letter here.

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