Professors and writers make an appeal for fewer English programs in higher education

The increasing importance that English plays in higher education (bachelor’s and master’s level programs) at Dutch universities has been a cause for concern for a large group of professors and writers, reports de Volkskrant. They believe that students are losing their Dutch language skills at an academic level.

Currently, we know that there are almost three-quarters of the master’s programs and almost a quarter of the  bachelor’s programs in English. This comes in a time when Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66) wants to change the Higher Education Act which states that all lessons must be in Dutch, unless there is a valid reason for it be given in English. She believes that internationalisation is required in the present times.

The court had ruled back in July 2018 when University of Maastricht and University of Twente were accused of unnecessarily offering their Psychology programs in Dutch and English. Obviously, it was ruled in their favour because the students still had the option of learning in Dutch.

What are the dangers of having more English programs?

According to the professors and writers spear heading this cause, they believe that the Dutch language is losing its status at an academic level. As more and more English programs are being offered, the Dutch students are at a disadvantage.

But this does make it seem like the Dutch students are being “forced” to take English programs, where in fact that is not true. They still have the option of pursuing a course in Dutch, if they do want to do that. Being an international student myself, I have worked hard in pursuing an education in English in the Netherlands, mostly because it allows me to participate in the global community. The option still lies open for the Dutch students to take English (if they want to participate in this global community themselves), or if they want to take Dutch.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you believe capping the number of English programs offered will actually cause a deterioration in the students’ Dutch language skills, despite them having the option of pursuing it in Dutch? Let us know in the comments!

Feat Image: Nikolay Georgiev from Pixabay

Kavana Desai
Kavana Desai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

Pitter-patter of not so little steps: baby elephant is born in Rotterdam zoo

When you think of springtime baby animals, you may think of fluffy little chicks, or baby goats wobbling through their first few steps. The...

Weekly update: infections drop but no new relaxations expected

The RIVM has released its weekly coronavirus figures for the period of April 27 to May 4. The number of infections has dropped compared to the...

Hello sunshine, goodbye coronavirus: Dutch virologist expects drop in infections

After a cold and rainy April, we can finally look forward to well-deserved sunshine and temperatures above 20 degrees. Spring weather is officially coming...