Dutch universities

The government’s English-language degree restrictions burden Dutch universities

The Dutch Government is planning to limit the courses taught in English. This comes after an effort to reduce the number of international students in the country since the lecture halls were overcrowded. Universities are under pressure due to these trends, particularly those that are offering courses in English.

The Eindhoven University of Technology offers all its courses, be they Bachelor’s or Master’s programmes, in English. The leaders of the university confirmed that acceptance of this proposal to limit classes taught in foreign languages will cause big problems for the university.

Robert-Jan Smits, President of the Executive Board, “There’s a lot of nervousness about what these measures entail in detail. For us, it’s a big problem because, for specific courses on artificial intelligence or electrical engineering, we don’t find enough professors who can teach in Dutch.”

He further added that international students might not come to the Netherlands for studies and work in the future. Moreover, Erasmus University also reacted to the proposal, mentioning that such restrictions cause concern among international students.

In the autumn of 2016, Dutch lawmakers demanded that universities stop recruiting more international students, and Minister Dijkgraaf also sent a letter to the nation’s universities with the same request. He later added that universities will be asked to teach two-thirds of their bachelor’s courses in Dutch starting in the academic year 2025–26. There are 122,287 international students in the academic year 2022–23. This indicates that 25.1 percent of all students at research universities in the Netherlands were international students. Around 72 percent of all the students came from the European Economic Area (EEA), and 27 percent were outside the EEA.

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