Universities threatened for teaching in English instead of Dutch

Education organization BON thinks that Dutch universities and colleges offer too many courses in English instead of Dutch to attract foreign students, instead of focusing on whether the switch to English will improve the course. The organization is threatening a lawsuit against the universities and colleges if the new government doesn't implement stricter rules for tertiary institutions in their government agreement, AD reports. 

"They just throw Dutch overboard to attract more foreign students" BON president Ad Verbrugge said to the newspaper. BON stands for better education in the Netherlands. BON points out that the law states that teaching must in principle be given in Dutch, unless there are good reasons to deviate. It also states that higher education institutions must pay attention to the Dutch language, according to the organization. 

BON thinks that by switching to English, Dutch students lose too much in quality. This is because many lecturers don't speak English well enough to give a proper lesson in the language. And many Dutch students don't understand English well enough to learn, BON says "Colleges and universities already complain that many first year students aren't even competent in Dutch, let alone English", Verbrugge said. "If we really want to teach students English, we can send them to England or America for half a year." 

The organization wants the Ministry of Education to better control which courses are given in English, and if it is really necessary to do so. "English doesn't have to be completely removed from education, but more attention must be paid to the language control of the students." Verbrugge said.

Minister Jet Bussemaker of Education believes that higher education institutions should be able to chose their own language policy. But she does call it unacceptable that they do so only for economic purposes. She is currently investigating why universities and colleges opt to use English in courses instead of Dutch. 

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