Erasmus University Warns of Major Consequences for Int’l Students if Govt Limits English-Language Teaching

Netherlands Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Jun 18, 2023

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam, an international research institution in the Netherlands, has voiced concerns over the plans of Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf to reduce the English-language teaching at the country’s universities and colleges.

In an official statement posted on its website on Friday, June 16, the university said that, if implemented, such plans will have major consequences for international students and staff in the Netherlands, reports.

“The plans raise many questions and concerns among our international students and staff, to whom we attach great value, as well as the international character of our education,” President of Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Executive Board, Ed Brinksma, said while commenting on plans to cut classes offered in English.

Brinksma said that students benefit a lot from diverse international classrooms, adding that international students play an important role in the community.

“We will do everything we can to influence the further development of the minister’s plans,” he said.

Minister Dijkgraaf presented his plans for internationalization at Dutch universities during a parliamentary debate at the beginning of this month. Additionally, the minister intends to take measures to manage the number of international students in the Netherlands to avoid, among other things, overcrowded lecture halls.

Through a letter to the House of Representatives, Dijkgraaf proposed steps that would help improve the influx of international students in the country, including limiting the number of enrolled students in certain study programs, usually in those where the maximum capacity has been reached.

A press release issued by the Dutch government on April 21 says that the minister wants higher education institutions to encourage all students, including international students, to learn the Dutch language. According to him, learning the language would increase international students’ chances to remain and to get a job in the Netherlands after graduation.

Speaking to Erudera recently, a spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Education said that Minister Dijkgraaf wants to control the flow of international students, but he does not have a specific number in mind regarding how many students will be allowed to study in the country in the future.

In the 2021/22 academic year, 115,000 international students were enrolled at Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences, of whom more than 42,000 started their studies for the first time in the country, data from the Statistics Netherlands (CBS) released last year indicate.

Over the past 16 years, the Netherlands has witnessed a more rapid increase in international students than local students.

Image source: Erasmus University's Twitter account

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