• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Netherlands universities cut English programs to reduce international student intake

Netherlands universities cut English programs to reduce international student intake

Netherlands universities will decrease English-only undergraduate programs to address pressure to reduce international student intake.

Under current proposals, the umbrella body Universities Netherlands (UNL) members will adjust four bachelor’s programs to Dutch-only instruction, while 35 English-language programs will offer a Dutch alternative.

Additionally, 27 programs will implement English admission quotas, pending the passage of the proposed Internationalisation in Balance bill, which the letter urges the government to expedite.

To Robbert Dijkgraaf Education Minister, the umbrella body Universities Netherlands (UNL) has outlined provisional strategies to boost Dutch-language instruction. Member institutions have agreed to convert programs entirely to Dutch, introduce Dutch-language pathways to English programs, or establish enrollment quotas for English pathways.

Jouke de Vries, the acting president of UNL, said “Universities are taking a serious step in terms of balancing out greater internationalisation in education with student intake numbers,”
He further emphasized, “In order to do that effectively, we need the support of politicians – at the very least in the form of legal instruments made available in the very near future to be able to control the influx of students.”

UNL stated that member universities aim to implement these measures “as early as the 2025-2026 academic year,”. Their objective is to “preserve the added value of internationalization without adverse impact on the Netherlands.”

The statement conveyed that “Internationalisation is very important to the scientific community, our economy and the future of our students,”.

“It contributes to a stimulating academic environment, responsiveness to international scientific developments, and the training of a sufficient number of talented professionals for the labor market. Additionally, international students also bring significant value to the Dutch economy.”

“At the same time, universities recognise that internationalisation has also created several problems that have necessitated the above measures,” UNL said.

The umbrella body previously linked issues such as student housing shortages and declining education accessibility and quality to the rise in international student numbers.

Earlier this year, UNL agreed to cease developing new English-language undergraduate programs, halt recruitment at international fairs, and eliminate foundation years for overseas students, in response to instructions from the Dutch House of Representatives to implement measures to reduce English-language instruction.