Incoming Dutch Education Minister Says Reducing Int’l Student Numbers is a Priority

Netherlands Europe Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Jun 21, 2024


Prospective Dutch Minister of Education, Eppo Bruins, said fewer international students in the Netherlands is his priority.

Bruins, who is expected to succeed outgoing minister Robbert Dijkgraaf said the increase in international student numbers adds pressure on the sector and the national budget. He made these comments at a hearing at the lower house of the Dutch Parliament on Thursday,

During the 2023/24 academic year, over 128,000 international students were enrolled in full degree programs in the Netherlands, making up 16 percent of the student population, up from 14.8 percent in 2022/23, reports.

Compared to 2022/23, some 6,613 more international students pursued degrees in the Netherlands, the slowest annual growth in a decade.

Bruins said he would follow Dijkgraaf’s plans, using Internationalization in Balance Act, which aims to allow better management of international student numbers.

Dijkgraaf’s bill, which has been sent to the Parliament, includes, among other things, stricter requirements for courses offered in languages other than Dutch. Dijkgraaf had said that keeping Dutch as the main language in higher education increases the chances for international graduates to stay in the country,

“Education and research in Dutch are valuable. I want to guarantee it. Mastering the Dutch language is also a key to finding work and playing a part in our society,” Dijkgraaf said.

The NL Times reported that the new minister also wants to ensure that sectors where international students are needed to fill the labor shortage are placed in what he calls a “more flexible regime.”

“The bill is part of a broader package of measures to manage well-considered internationalization together with colleges and universities and to retain international talent for the sectors where we desperately need them,” the Dutch government said in a statement released last month.

Data by Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, showed that 5 percent more international students were enrolled in bachelor’s and master’s programs during the 2023/24 academic year compared to the previous year. That was the slowest increase since 2014/15.

“The declining growth is in line with the trend that started last year. Then, the growth rate was 7 percent, and now it’s down to 5 percent,” Nuffic researcher Saoradh Favier said.

Last year, international students in the Netherlands hailed from 167 countries, with 92,216 students from within the European Economic Area (EEA). The top three sending countries were Germany, Italy, and Romania.

Read Also:

>> Survey: Int'l Students Feel Less Welcomed in Netherlands Amidst Plans to Limit Enrollment

Related News

woman riding a bicycle in Amsterdam, Netherlands

More international students are choosing to stay or work in the Netherlands after graduation, a new study by Maastricht Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) has found.


Jul 03, 2024

Person biking in Groningen, Netherlands

The Netherlands has seen only a 5 percent increase in international student numbers in 2023/24 compared to the previous academic year, according to data from Nuffic, a Dutch organization for the internationalization of education.


May 28, 2024

University of Amsterdam building

University of Amsterdam (UvA) announced on Monday evening that it will remain closed for two days after police intervened to end a pro-Palestinian protest at one of the school’s campuses.


May 14, 2024