We all know that the numbers of international students are rising in the Netherlands. Due to this, some universities have raised concerns over the lack of opportunities for Dutch native students to pursue.
Currently, the Netherlands hosts approximately 11% of students from across the globe. These international students undergo various degree programs based on English. This has brought a downfall in the number of Dutch language-based degrees.
To meet with the demand, more Dutch universities are now offering an increasing number of English courses. This aims to make higher education “more accessible” to international students.
Sources have reported that the Education Ministry has already started considering to make the Dutch language as compulsory for international students. This might have a catastrophic impact.
Already, there is a widespread worry among the universities of Netherlands. This is because they expect the government to take an unprecedented measure to make Dutch lessons compulsory for international students.
The government is poised to reveal the much-awaited higher education strategy next month. All eyes are on the day when details will be made public.
Some universities and institutions have shown their reservations about the English medium used in degrees. They have suggested setting a limit for every institute on the number of courses offered in the English language. This move would effectively diminish the rapid increase in English courses.
This will allow more native students to participate in higher education. Universities like the Maastricht and Twente are quite popular with international students. However, introducing limitations would check the number of such students by quite a margin.
On the other hand, the government seems to be reluctant to address this issue. Ingrid Van Engelshoven, the Dutch Minister of Education, stated that the universities could easily offer various degree programs in English. She further added that this could be the case as long as Dutch students are not overlooked. And, this exercise leads to an improvement in the overall quality.
The case remains the same in the parliamentary system. So far, there has been no significant development. The law states that there is no “need” to hold exams or classes in the Dutch language. This law leaves an ample room to suggest that there are no language restrictions which the universities must religiously follow.
With legislation that has yet to bring out substantial results and a government that seems to be oddly reluctant, it is safe to say that the idea is in the air. It is only a matter of time before a move is made.
The move will be made with less impact, to promote the importance of the Dutch language. This move would also focus on allowing more native students to gain access to higher education.
Students considering to pursue their higher academics in the Netherlands should seek Dutch language classes beforehand. This will ensure that they can cope with any changes made. Learning the language should also allow them to find better opportunities. This will help in their successful completion of the degree programs.