Cabinet Proposal to Introduce COVID Certification in Education Impossible

24 November 2021 by Coronavirus

With the proposal to introduce the COVID certification [coronatoegangsbewijzen (CTB)] in higher education, as presented to the Lower House, the cabinet is asking the impossible from universities of applied sciences and research universities in the Netherlands. That is what education umbrella organisations Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) and the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH) have stated in a message. Avans University of Applied Sciences supports this view.

Making a CTB compulsory will undoubtedly limit accessibility, while the cabinet demands 100% accessibility to higher education for all students. In addition, the universities of applied sciences and research universities combined have hundreds of locations as well as thousands of lectures and working groups per week. Monitoring these will lead to major problems with implementation. The cabinet will also oblige the institutions to provide a full alternative programme to students who cannot show a CTB or do not wish to do so.

Not a Viable Option

President of the Executive Board Phillipe Raets says: “From a practical point of view, it is not a viable option as that means that we will not be able to offer in-person education to everyone. We have seen how important that is. It is necessary for students’ mental health. It is therefore not desirable to use the CTB in this way. The proposal to offer both in-person education and a full online alternative because education must be accessible to everyone is also simply not feasible given the pressure that is already placed on lecturers, support staff, and researchers.”


The education umbrella organisations also draw attention to the high level of vaccinations and the absence of outbreaks in the sector. This is why they have asked the Lower House to make a firm decision to not apply the CTB to higher education in this manner, and to give the sector time to first consider alternatives.

Current Guidelines

“We have to continue to lead by example as we can contribute a lot to preventing outbreaks ourselves. Keep the current guidelines in mind. Wear a face mask, maintain social distancing where possible, continue to wash your hands, and continue to take tests at home. Fortunately, we have supervisors who will alert us to moments of inattention. Please follow their instructions, because it will help us all to continue providing education in person,” says Raets.

Last updated on 25 November 2021.