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A recent question that, in a sense, relied crucially on some details of the general Dutch educations system, got me thinking:

Wouldn't it be nice if this community knew more about the Dutch education system, not only on universities, but as a whole?

The advantage of a 'full cover' means that we know what expectations new university students carry, from their previous experience with education so far. I think this is valuable for members of this community from all over the world. I can think of the following reasons this may be of use:

  1. "This Dutch student that applies for a PhD position seems capable, but acts kinda weird. Is this just a cultural thing?"
  2. "I'm going to take a PhD in the Netherlands. What should I expect my fellow students to be like and what would my advisor generally expect of me."
  3. "I'm willing to answer a questions on Academia.SE tagged , but I'm not sure if what sort of institution the OP is in and what is considered normal procedure in that country"
  4. ... (Feel free to add your own examples!)

Then, I thought even more and I realized I might as well replace 'The Netherlands', with literally any country in the world! Of course, I don't have the expertise to write on that, but I would be very much interested in, say, education systems in Germany, Belgium and/or France. (Most of my knowledge is ... 'apocryphal' at best)

So, for my question: do you think this is a good initiative? Would you like to try and cover the education system from your own country?

I might be a nice idea to make a faq-like list of such questions, is that a good idea?


Note that this isn't a question for what I should do. I will soon create a question asking for a brief explanation of the Dutch education system and self-answer (unless someone can convince me this is a very bad idea, but I think I'll still just post and wait for the close votes in that case. No harm in asking questions people very likely genuinely have.)

  • Neither of your two suggested questions are really answerable - they depend too much on the particular people and particular situations they find themselves in. Heck, asking what an advisor in one particular department in one particular university expects of students is not answerable unless the number of professors in the department is equal to one (or zero I guess). – Jon Custer Mar 21 '18 at 22:37
  • @JonCuster Well, then I guess I know what you will do when I make my question. – Discrete lizard Mar 21 '18 at 22:46
  • Apparently you believe you can read minds! – Jon Custer Mar 21 '18 at 22:48
  • @JonCuster Maybe? Is making an educated guess wrong? Or do you object to my examples only and not my general intentions? The vote seems to say you don't. – Discrete lizard Mar 21 '18 at 22:50
  • I agree with @Discretelizard we should do this. – SSimon Mar 22 '18 at 4:37
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    Such a question and answer might be useful, but I'm afraid that comprehensively describing the educational system of a country would take more than a Stack Exchange answer. I'm pretty sure that a question such as "How does the education system work in country X?" would get closed as "Too broad". – Arnaud D. Mar 22 '18 at 11:11
  • @ArnaudD. Ah well, at least I can try. Let's continue this discussion when I've actually written something. – Discrete lizard Mar 22 '18 at 11:59
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I might be a nice idea to make a faq-like list of such questions, is that a good idea?

In theory, the collected set of questions asked by people on this site is expected to evolve into such a collection over time. Thus, if you search , it should effectively give you a FAQ.

"Let's talk about education in the Netherlands" is an unanswerable open-ended discussion question that belongs more on Wikipedia than here.

If there are specific questions and answers that you think are interesting, however, it is always OK to open those up yourself as ordinary questions and answers. For example, from my own experience with the Dutch system, I might be interested in "Why do Dutch institutions make PhD examiners from industry wear a special funny suit rather than their normal academic regalia or a normal suit?"

  • Well, given that someone self-answered a chart which tends to explain things... – Discrete lizard Mar 25 '18 at 17:03

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