Ministry of Education: Dijkgraaf's Bill Aims to Strike Balance That Benefits All Students in Netherlands

Netherlands Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 27, 2024

youngsters in Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Dutch Ministry of Education has commented on reports showing that international students feel less welcome in the Netherlands, expressing regret and highlighting its commitment to creating a welcoming environment for global talent.

These remarks come after the release of recent survey results by de Volkskrant, underlining challenges faced by international students in the Netherlands amid debates on proposed measures to limit their enrollment due to overcrowded halls and the housing shortage, reports.

“We are very sorry to hear stories of international students not feeling welcome in the Netherlands. The survey sadly confirms what minister Dijkgraaf hears when he speaks with international students,” the ministry said in a statement for Erudera News, emphasizing that the Netherlands still welcomes international talent.

“It is important that student mobility can be supported in a sustainable way, because the increased student mobility has also brought some challenges, for example in providing adequate housing,” the ministry added.

Responding to the survey, international students cited the quality of education and English-taught programs among the reasons they chose to study in the Netherlands. Now that the country wants to limit English-language courses and reduce the number of international students, the latter are worried about their future in the country.

In its statement, the ministry notes that the Dutch education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf, who has been engaging in conversations with international students, recognizes the validity of these concerns. However, regardless of these challenges, the Netherlands is committed to keep its status as a popular study destination for international talent, especially for its economical growth.

Over the past ten years, a significant increase in the number of international students in the Netherlands has led to a need for more student housing in the country, even for domestic students. According to the government, this increase has resulted in overcrowded classrooms and excessive workloads for educational staff.

Considering these developments, Minister Dijkgraaf intends to create balance in the internationalization of education that includes the value of internationalization for Dutch education on one hand and the accessibility to this education on the other. Dijkgraaf aims to achieve this balance through a bill called Internationalization in Balance (Internationalisering in balans).

An education ministry spokesperson says a balance is favorable to all students. But, the latter do not share the same opinion because they claim to be unfairly blamed for the country’s problems.

“As an international student, I don’t feel welcome among the Dutch, who try to push housing and social security problems onto us,” a student from Poland told de Volkskrant.

At the minister’s request, the Dutch universities, members of Universities of Netherlands (UNL), have recently agreed to take their own steps to reduce international student intake and increase the use of the Dutch language in their study programs.

The ministry is now awaiting a response from the Advisory Division of the Council of State (Raad van State) for further advice on the bill. After that, the bill will be sent to the House of Representatives. The ministry says it will happen as soon as possible in the second quarter of this year.

Editor’s note: This article briefly provides the most recent statements from the Dutch Ministry of Education. The full story, which delves deeper into the issue, will be published in the upcoming weeks.


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