Thirteen further education colleges in the Netherlands are planning a joint venture with The Open University.
The Hogescholen, which offer vocational and technical training, are suffering from a lack of resources. A shortage of teachers and cuts in spending mean that many students will be expected to take advantage of distance-learning courses offered by the OU. The University of Maastricht is also likely to participate.
The Open University is also facing cuts of E6.8 million (Pounds 4 million) a year due to a decline in the number of tweedekansstudenten (mature students).
Education minister Loek Hermans has responded positively to the OU's plans to create a digital university whereby the majority of courses will be offered via the internet. The project has the working title "Flexible-Learning.NL".