Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news News
Header image Jouke's Journal

The UG Extension School

Date:13 May 2020
Author:Jouke de Vries
Jouke de Vries
Jouke de Vries

One of the things I would like to realize in the coming years is the UG Extension School. An extension school is, similar to extensions in your hair, an extension – but then of your education. The UG Extension School is in keeping with the growing emphasis on Lifelong Learning, nowadays referred to as Lifelong Development.

At a time when society is confronted with transformations in almost all sectors – digitization being the most prominent – new and current employees need new skills in order to work effectively. As a result of this digitization, there is a greater need for knowledge of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IOT) and robotics.

To date, universities have played a modest role in the Lifelong Development market. Lawyers, of course, participate in training courses offered by the Faculty of Law because they have to obtain a certain number of points each year; a requirement set by their professional association. In Groningen there is the AOG School of Management led by Albert-Jan Postma, which offers postgraduate education, and small-scale activities are organized at each faculty. But I truly believe that we could do this on a much larger scale, through an Extension School that combines online and modular education. In the post-corona period we want to reach new target groups.

Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are both inspiring examples of this kind of education; their Extension Schools are intended for participants who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree and then entered the labour market straight away. Eventually, these alumni want to learn something new. And they can do this by completing MicroMasters that are offered online, after which they qualify for a Master’s degree programme that is largely taught online and partly on-campus.

Points are awarded for each module, which ultimately leads to a certificate. Not dissimilar to the brown glass jar in which the Dutch collect Douwe Egberts points to receive a nice gift – but in this instance the gift is a Master’s degree. Ideally, participants should be able to follow modules offered by all Dutch universities and, by doing so, gain access to a Master’s degree. This way, we could make a genuine contribution to Lifelong Development.

Jouke de Vries
President of the Board of the University
11 May 2020