Setting up Npuls

Do you want to know how Npuls is set up? Read about the set up of the programme, the steering committee, the role of the partners and the linking teams of the educational institutions.

This is what Npuls is like 

The programme is divided into two phases: the first phase of 24 months, and a second phase of six years. The steering committee manages and monitors the progress of the programme.   

 The Npuls programme director reports to the steering committee on the activities of the programme, both of the programme organisation, and activities of the programme in the sector. By the programme organisation we mean the central staff of Npuls, such as the process manager and operations manager, the communication team and the teams of the different programme components.  

 The director also reports on the progress of the activities of NRO and the Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs). The steering committee may set further frameworks for the implementation of the programme plans by the programme organisation. The steering committee may also address individual institutions about their participation in the programme.  

Npuls may require decisions to be taken that fall outside the steering committee’s decision-making authority, but which are essential for achieving the programme’s objectives. If this occurs, these decisions are submitted to the Council, Association of Universities and Colleges in the Netherlands, and the SURF Members’ Council. Examples include decisions on sector-wide adoption of products or agreements.   

 If, in realising plans or ambitions, Npuls encounters legal obstacles or has recommendations for the education system, the steering committee, after coordination with the sector associations, discusses them with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. 

This is what the Npuls steering committee does

The steering committee is led by an independent chairman and also consists of representatives from organisations in the sector. These are the following organisations:  

  •  MBO Raad, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and Universities of the Netherlands have each delegated two members on behalf of educational institutions. These representatives monitor whether Npuls remains in line with the needs of the institutions;  
  • SURF is both the penman for the programme organisation and the commissioning organisation for (parts of) the technological infrastructure. The representative of SURF monitors whether what the programme requires in terms of the contractor role is feasible and/or whether the risks of being the main contractor remain manageable and acceptable for SURF;  
  • The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is a member of the agenda. The Ministry sets the budget annually and, as a member of the agenda, can keep a constant eye on the progress of the programme and keep an eye on the constructive collaboration with other NGF programmes;  
  • The student unions JOB-MBO, ISO and LSVb are agenda members. They attend meeting when agenda items relevant to their constituencies are discussed. In the process towards consensus between all parties, they are discussion partners.

Currently, the steering committee consists of the following members:  

  • Lodewijk Asscher – independent chairperson  
  • Mirjam Koster – VET Council (MBO Raad) 
  • Oege de Jong – VET Council (MBO Raad) 
  • Timo Kos – Association of Universities of Applied Sciences  
  • Geleyn Meijer (a.i.) – Association of Universities of Applied Sciences   
  • Arthur Mol – Universities of the Netherlands  
  • Peter-Paul Verbeek – Universities of the Netherlands  
  • Jet de Ranitz – SURF
  • Taco Fens – Ministry of Education, Culture and Science 
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The role of the partners

 Five partners work together in Npuls. These are the VET Council (MBO Raad), the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH), Universities of the Netherlands (UNL), SURF and the NRO. Each partner has its own role in the programme.   

 The sector associations (MBO Raad, VH and UNL) unite and represent all public institutions in further education in the Netherlands. Currently, there are 107 of them, but this number changes due to mergers. The sector associations ensure support for Npuls in their constituencies and form the bridge between the programme and their sector. Each association has a representative on the Npuls management team, a liaison.   

 For the MBO Raad this is Manon Geven, for the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences it is Elsbeth Vonkeman and for Universities of the Netherlands it is Susanne van Aardenne.   

 SURF is also represented in the direction team, by Johanna de Groot. SURF’s involvement in the programme is twofold: SURF is the programme’s penman and implementer of activities in the programme, particularly within the technological infrastructure.  

The fifth partner is NRO, the Dutch research council. NRO implements parts of the Npuls Knowledge Infrastructure. 

These are the partners of Npuls

We work with a linking team from each institution

We make Npuls a success together with and for the (colleagues in the) institutions. This requires intensive cooperation between colleagues in the institutions and Npuls. To shape this cooperation, the Npuls team has devised a working method through which the institutions are closely linked to Npuls.   

Each institution has an Npuls linking team. A linking team consists of the key players in the institution around digitisation, education policy, information provision, libraries, and education implementation and organisation. These include officers with key roles in (strategic) education policy, information management, ict, teaching and student administration, professional development, Centers for Teaching and Learning, and data and Institutional Research.   

The linking teams play a crucial role in harnessing the potential of Npuls for their own institution. At the same time, they play an important role in realising the success of Npuls in and with the institutions.   

The linking team is the point of contact for colleagues at their own educational institution when they have questions about Npuls and its design in the institution. The team can also take responsibility for the development and implementation of activities related to Npuls. At the same time, the linking team is the point of contact for the Npuls team across the institution.  

The linking teams:  

  • Are the point of contact for colleagues from their own institution if they have questions about Npuls and its design in the institution  
  • Are the point of contact for the Npuls team across the institution;  
  • Encourage and facilitate the development and implementation of Npuls solutions and activities within the institution;  
  • Are ambassadors and knowledge carriers for Npuls within the institution. They ensure that the target groups know the possibilities of Npuls;  
  • Can address possible Npuls bottlenecks with the programme organisation.  

For inspiration and the exchange of experiences between linking teams, the programme will organise (regional) exchanges. In addition, we will periodically bring together all members of the linking teams so various stakeholders from all institutions can work together to develop Npuls in their institutions.  

Would you like to know how to reach your institution’s linking team? Then check the contact page and search for your institution. 

We want advice – solicited and unsolicited

Npuls is a programme of the entire education sector. We do this together and therefore the teams of the programme components or the programme itself will occasionally want to collect input and advice from key stakeholders. To this end, we will set up advisory councils of students and learners, lecturers, it professionals from education, members of the business community, and civil society organisations. In doing so, we will use existing groups, consultations, and organisations as much as possible.   

In addition, we will invite the advisory councils to the quarterly planning meetings. You can read more about the planning meetings below. We will also share the agenda for the steering committee meetings with them. Of course, we are also open not only to solicited advice, but also unsolicited advice. Councils can advise the steering committee or the programme director, but also the teams of the focus areas, or the general staff. For example, the communication team. Do you have a tip for the website, for example? Then we would like to hear from you at 

Working method: we keep it agile

Within Npuls, we add the agile working framework  and service design to existing and familiar processes. Both approaches have emerged over the past 20 years from the need offor large organisations with a complex digital ecosystem to effectively create demonstrable value for users of digital services via short-cycle empirical ‘sprints’. 

The essence of this approach for the Npuls programme is that, within the main objectives and ambitions of the programme, the realisation of products, services, and design of processes is structured in short iterations of design and realisation. The consistent aim is to design these short cyclical iterations in such a way that useful value is created for users. They therefore occupy have an important place role in the realisation process, both in the elaboration of needs and in the evaluation of results. Wherever possible, the functions, products, etc. delivered are immediately put into use and improved in practice (e.g., in the practice of users participating in pilots). 

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