Good news for those reading this in a foreign country with aspirations to study in the Netherlands!
The Dutch Minister of education; Van Engelshoven sees no reason to step in and intervene to stop the advance of the use English and foreign students in the Dutch educational system. In a letter to parliament, she writes that there is no question of displacement of Dutch students. She also emphasizes that internationalization has an important added value.
At the same time, Van Engelshoven recognizes the risks and therefore wants to amend the law in order to be able to intervene if the balance threatens to become lost when it comes to Dutch and foreign students. But “the impression that Dutch students can no longer study wherever they want because of a huge influx of international students is not correct,” writes the minister.
According to her, the Netherlands as a small country must dare to look beyond the borders. “We should not be worried about stories that internationalization is something negative that is poured out over us.” In an explanation, she tells that the Dutch knowledge economy desperately needs international students.
She mentions companies such as chip machine manufacturer ASML, who are “longing for highly qualified employees”. With a view to the aging problem, Van Engelshoven hopes that international students will be able to fill gaps in the labor market in the future.
A choice for English should be explained
However, she wants to prevent Dutch being displaced as a language in science in the future. That is why educational institutions have to carefully explain why the use English has added value.
She will examine whether it is in the interest of the Dutch labor market and the Dutch student, and whether there is still a Dutch-language study program. “I want instruments to steer there, which I now have too little and therefore I want to change the law.” The Inspectorate of Education must ensure compliance with it.
In recent years, there has been increasing criticism of the rise of foreign students in Dutch education (there were over 75.000 this past year) and the introduction of English as the language of instruction. The National Student Association LSVb advocated a temporary stop. According to the union, foreign students threaten to bar the Dutch in studies with a maximum number of students. The LSVb also asks why a study should be in English when students eventually practice their profession in Dutch. An additional problem is the “Steenkolen Engels” of some teachers, according to the student union.
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