Minister Says Flow of Int’l Students in Netherlands Should Be Controlled to Avoid Crowded Classrooms

Netherlands Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Apr 23, 2023

youngsters in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, said the influx of international students in the Netherlands should be controlled, when necessary, in order to prevent overcrowded classrooms, the high workload for lecturers, lack of housing, and pressure on education accessibility.

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, April 21, 2023, the Minister said that he wants to take actions to better manage international student enrollment at Dutch colleges and universities to maintain quality education at institutions, Erudera.com reports.

“With a long-term and targeted approach, I want to prevent the quality of our colleges and universities from coming under such pressure that this undermines our international top position. I want to support that position. In addition to an accelerator, we also need a brake and, above all, a steering wheel,” Dijkgraaf said.

While stating his intention to solve the issue, Dijkgraaf said he wants to introduce central management of the internationalization of universities and colleges, among other things.

However, the Minister said the responsibility to accommodate students lies with higher education institutions in the country but added that if colleges and universities fail to fulfill this responsibility, he will intervene to manage international student enrollment himself.

Local media reports say that Dijkgraaf did not provide specific details about his plans to address the issue.

Among the government's suggestions for educational institutions to control international student numbers is to motivate them to learn the Dutch language. The Minister is also planning to ask universities and colleges to strengthen and promote the Dutch language among all students, including international students.

“A better command of Dutch increases the chances on the labor market. Moreover, there is a greater chance that students from abroad will want and be able to stay in the Netherlands after their studies,” a statement by the Ministry of Education reads.

Considering the urgency, Dijkgraaf is working on new legislation that will require the inclusion of the Dutch language in foreign-language courses in law. The legislation will not become effective until September 2024 at the earliest.

The number of international students in the Netherlands has significantly increased over recent years. According to official data, the country became the home to 115,000 students from abroad last academic year, which is 3.5 times as many as in the 2005/06 academic year.

40 percent of new university entrants were international students last year, a 28 percent increase compared to 2015.

At the end of the last year, Dijkgraaf wrote a letter to the country’s universities, asking them to stop active recruitment of international students, also back then mentioning that the influx of students is leading to pressure on teachers, lack of accommodation and, most importantly, crowded lecture halls.

>> Dutch Colleges Attracted Over 85,000 International Students in Fall 2022

© Matheus Frade | Unsplash

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