Foreign students in Netherlands could get Dutch lessons
The Netherlands government may be planning to bring in a form of compulsory Dutch lessons for foreign students, Times Higher Education revealed.
Several sources speaking to Times Higher Education have stated that foreign students in Netherlands receiving Dutch lessons is just one of the ideas that the education ministry is considering ahead of announcing its new strategy for higher education next month.
At present, 11% of the Dutch student body is from abroad. There are more than 2,100 programmes delivered in English, a higher number than any other country in continental Europe.
The introduction of Dutch lessons will promote Dutch-learning in international students, providing them with a two-fold benefit of undertaking their higher education studies in the Netherlands.
Education Minister calls to ‘future-proof’ Dutch graduates and foreign students in Netherlands
In June 2018, education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven said that programmes can continue to be offered in English, as long as it leads to an improvement of standards and Dutch students aren’t forced out.
The use of English in Dutch higher education benefits Dutch science, the knowledge-based economy and students themselves.
For Dutch students studying their degrees in English, they will find themselves in an optimal position to compete in the international job market. The provision of Dutch lessons to international students will only serve to further this benefit to the nation.
Engelshoven has also expressed that it should be possible for universities and colleges to give priority to Dutch students.
In 2018, there was a document published by Dutch universities calling for the number of courses given in English to be capped, to prevent the number of international students from growing.
The government believes if foreign students in Netherlands are to be given Dutch lessons this will ultimately aid integration of international students with native learners.
In turn, this will in the future ensure that the Netherlands are producing a strong and internationally competitive cohort of graduates.
The education ministry believes that the introduction of Dutch lessons can only serve to better the future of graduates from the Netherlands’ higher education system.